About the film
The Last Seed, produced by the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation in association with the Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa, Biowatch South Africa, and PELUM Tanzania.
The Last Seed focuses on broad themes relating to the state of food and agriculture in Africa in the twenty-first century. Placing the struggle for the control of seeds at the centre, it explains the processes that have led to this moment in human history and what it would take to interact with the planet in a way that does not threaten the very basis of life on earth.
The film raises two fundamental questions — what have we lost, and who can show us a better way? — and answers these questions using music, dance, moving visuals, and the lived experiences and stories of African small-scale food producers.
Experts outline the extent of the corporate capture crisis and explain the underlying science, politics and economics in simple terms, punctuated by vibrant animations.
Agroecological farmers from various African nations give testimony on the sustainability and adaptability of their agricultural practices and share morsels of wisdom worth exploring.
The film ends on an upbeat note as Senegalese women rise up, determined to protect their seeds and indigenous knowledge for future generations.
Andréa Gema is a South African filmmaker who has worked in the film and advertising industry for over 10 years, taking a special interest in making sure complex stories are told in an engaging and refreshing way. Having volunteered with multiple NGOs throughout her life, she readily took this opportunity to combine her film skills with the hope of change, by depicting this important story for both African and international audiences to see.
Jan Urhahn coordinates the Food Sovereignty Programme of the Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung in Johannesburg, South Africa. He mainly works on topics such as farmworkers’ rights, the impacts of hazardous pesticides, seed ownership, and Green Revolution approaches versus viable alternatives such as agroecology.
Refiloe Joala is the Food Sovereignty programme manager in the Southern Africa Regional Office of the Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung in Johannesburg, South Africa. She is particularly interested in the nature and outcomes of changing agro-food systems within the context of growing corporate control in Southern Africa, and she also works on seed sovereignty and farmworkers’ rights in the region.
Famara Diédhiou has over 15 years’ professional experience working mostly in rural development in African countries, particularly in the establishment of community seed and cereal banks, organising women’s groups for urban-rural partners. As West Africa based program officer under the Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa (AFSA), Famara Diédhiou is active in various networks to advance the food sovereignty struggle and African driven solutions.
Professor Mvuselelo Ngcoyo teaches in the School of Built Environment and Development Studies (SBEDS) at the University of KwaZulu Natal (UKZN), in Durban, South Africa. He is a self-proclaimed country bumpkin with a taste for life’s finer pleasures, especially food. His culinary appetite has spiced his academic work with an intellectual focus on the social life and political economy of indigenous vegetables. His research focuses on agrarian issues relating to land reform, small-scale agriculture and rural development. He co-founded Bonakude farm, an agroecological project in his ancestral lands of Phatheni, KwaZulu Natal.
Zayaan Khan is a seed librarian for Seed Biblioteek in Cape Town, South Africa. She works through seed, land and food from a multidisciplinary angle, forwarding sociopolitical, ecological and spiritual political perspectives. She is also a PhD Candidate in The EnvironmentalHumanities South at the University of Cape Town, South Africa.
Professor Mark Laing established the African Centre for Crop Improvement of the University of KwaZulu Natal in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa in 2001 where he is Director. He joined the University of KwaZulu-Natal in 1977 as a student in biological sciences. Falling in love with plant pathology and research, he has since built a career at the same university, starting as a lecturer and ending up as the professor and head of department.
Mariam Mayet holds BA LLB, LLM degrees, which she obtained from theUniversity of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa. She is the founder and director of the African Centre for Biodiversity (ACB) a nonprofit organisation, based in Johannesburg, South Africa, (with a branch office in Tanzania), which Mariam established in 2003. The ACB has a time-honoured reputation for pioneering and cutting-edge research and policy analysis, learning and exchange, capacity, movement building, and advocacy to catalyse collective action aimed at influencing decision and resourcing towards agroecology and food sovereignty in Africa.
Angelika Hilbeck is a senior scientist and lecturer at the SwissFederal Institute of Technology in Zurich, Switzerland, where she leads the group ‘Environmental Biosafety and Agroecology’ at the Institute of Integrative Biology. For almost 30 years, her research has focused on biosafety and risk assessment of GMOs in the context of agroecology and biodiversity. Through numerous research and capacity building projects, she has been engaged in several developing countries in Africa, South America and Vietnam. Her research and conceptual work also contribute to the implementation and shaping of the (UNEP CBD) Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety and capacity building in developing countries.
Dr. Paul Saidia holds a PhD in Crop Science from Sokoine University of Agriculture in Morogoro, Tanzania. A Senior Researcher working with Tanzania Agriculture ResearchInstitute (TARI), Dr. Saidia has more than 16 years’ experience of working in research and development with farmers and other stakeholders. He has vast knowledge and experience in natural resources management, agronomy, farming systems and organic agriculture.
Kandida Tesha practices agroecology farming in Shimbwe Juu, Kilimanjaro region of Tanzania to produce food for her family and for income. She is a member of a farmers group called Mapendo Women Group, which consists of 31 women farmers, growing a wide range of food crops. In addition to the mushroom greenhouse the group set up locally, the Mapendo Women Group also supplies local markets with coffee and plantain. As a lead farmer, Kandida has benefited from a multitude of trainings organized by government institutions andNGOs on environmental protection activities. Kandida saves and exchanges local farmer seeds within her local community as well as with other farmers across the country through her involvement in various seed related forums, seed fairs and the national farmer's seed exhibitions.
Dr. Mwatima Juma is the Chairperson of Tanzania Organic Agriculture Movement (TOAM) and one of the founders of Msonge Organic Family Farm and the Practical Permaculture Institute of Zanzibar. She is one of the leading voices for organic agriculture in Tanzania and Zanzibar. She is on a quest to make Zanzibar 100% organic in all its aspects; to transform local production systems to a permaculture system, becoming regenerative, sustainable and most importantly devoid of all chemical toxins. Juma holds a PhD. in Agronomy and Crop Science from University of London Wye College.
Johannesburg born, Vanessa Black completed a Bachelor of Architecture Degree at theUniversity of the Witwatersrand working briefly as an architect before following her passion for environmental justice. After starting her journey in 1989 at Environmental Justice NetworkingForum, Vanessa coordinated the Green House Peoples Environmental Centre Project to develop a sustainable living demonstration centre in Joubert Park in the Johannesburg inner city from 1997-2003. In 2004 she relocated to Durban, working with various organisations before joining Biowatch SA in February 2017 as the Advocacy, Research and Policy Coordinator.
Craig Johnston is a farmer and he runs an agricultural contracting business, which mainly focuses on forage harvesting. He strongly believes that farmers should be good custodians of the farms and hand them over in a better condition than they found them. Craig is convinced that farmers must farm sustainably and regeneratively in order for there to be a future for farming.
Dr. William Hamisy holds a B.SC. in Forestry from University of Agriculture in Morogoro, Tanzania and a M.Sc in Plant Biology with emphasis of conservation biology and biotechnology from University of Helsinki, Finland. Since 2001, he has been a Senior Research Officer at the National Plant Genetic Resources Centre in Lushoto, Tanzania. Among other things, he is also a member of the National Biotechnology Advisory Committee in Tanzania.
In 2017, Mlomp Kadjifulon had a population of 198 households and 2,500 people, when the last census was conducted. As Chief, Abel Sambou serves as a representative of the Republic of Senegal in the village under the Sous Prefet (Head of District). Rice, which is the main staple crop in Mlomp Kadjifulon is produced only for local household consumption and communal activities. The population of Mlomp Kadjifulon relies mainly on crop and livestock production, and tourism.
A widowed farmer who started farming independently in 1993in Kilinjoro village, in the region of Kilimanjaro, Tanzania. Neema Mwendo relies on agriculture for feeding her family and generating income. A revered advocate for farmer seeds and agroecology among small-scale food producers in her community, Neema relies on the ecological farming methods and practices that she was raised with in her own farming fields and the communal fields in which she cultivates commercial vegetable crops such as watercress. She is a member of a farmer’s group in her village called Amani Green Care, which consists of 18 members and she is the group secretary. In addition producing maize, beans, sorghum, vegetable, sesame, sunflower and plantain to supply local markets and hotels in Moshi, Kilimanjaro, and Arusha, the group is also involved in environmental conservation and protection of water source areas.
Producers and partners
The Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung (RLS) is an internationally active, progressive non-profit organisation for political education. One of the six major political foundations in the Federal Republic of Germany, the RLS is closely linked to Die Linke, the German Left Party. Since its founding in 1990, the RLS has been engaged in the analysis of social processes and developments. Through its teams in 27 regional and country offices, the RLS works with hundreds of partner organisations, political actors and individuals in over 80 countries. One of the topics the organisation is engaged in is food sovereignty. The aim of the RLS's work is to strengthen emancipatory political forces.
The Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa (AFSA) is a broad alliance of different civil society actors that are part of the struggle for food sovereignty and agroecology in Africa. It is a network of networks and currently with 35 members, active in 50 African countries. The core purpose of AFSA is to influence policies and to promote African solutions for food sovereignty. AFSA serves as a continental platform for consolidation of issues pertaining to food sovereignty and together marshal a single and louder voice on issues and tabling clear workable solutions.
Biowatch South Africa challenges the industrialised food system and demonstrates and advocates agroecology as a means of ensuring biodiversity while attaining food and seed sovereignty and social justice. Established in 1999 as an environmental justice NGO, Biowatch works with smallholder farmers in rural South Africa, with government, and with civil society organisations in South and Southern Africa to secure smallholder farmers’ rights and ensure that people have control over their food, agricultural processes and natural resources within a biodiverse and sustainable system. Biowatch resists corporate appropriation of natural resources. Much of our own work, and our work with others, is focused on changing the discourse around, and the disconnect between, the destructive industrialised food system and the devastating impact this is having on our planet and the life we share it with.
Participatory Ecological Land Use Management (PELUM Tanzania) is a network of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) working with smallholder farmers and livestock keepers in promoting participatory ecological land use management in Tanzania through learning, networking and advocacy. PELUM Tanzania envisions prosperous smallholder farmers deriving livelihoods from ecological agriculture.
The Last Seed South Africa premiere and event
Join us for the South African premiere of The Last Seed, a documentary feature film on the past and future of African food and agriculture.
Film premiere of The Last Seed followed by a discussion and reception
The Last Seed is a documentary feature film showing how the past and the future of African agriculture are threatened, with a focus on struggles over the control of seeds.
Der Dokumentarfilm The Last Seed zeigt, wie das Erbe und die Zukunft der afrikanischen Landwirtschaft bedroht sind.
I Call It an 'Edu-Science Musical'
Director Andréa Gema on the making and message of The Last Seed.
The Seeds Africa Needs
Famara Diédhiou on seed struggle in Africa and what The Last Seed documentary feature film can achieve