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You are here: Home Magazines East-Africa Farmers' Organisations

Farmers' Organisations

This issue of Baobab focuses on Farmers’ Organisations. The theme is informed by the reality that farmers are able to achieve better outcomes for themselves and for national and global aspirations of food security and food sovereignty when they are well organised and able to speak in one voice.

Globally, it is becoming increasingly common for agencies that support farmers, particularly small scale farmers, to seek out and listen to farmers directly where this is possible. Whereas it is good and beneficial for other groups such as civil society organisations, cooperatives and ministries of agriculture to advance the cause of farmers, the truth is that farmers are most familiar with the challenges they face with respect to optimising production in a sustainable manner; accessing needed inputs and eventually fair markets for their produce.

Read more on Farmers’ Organisations and their role in food security and sustainable development.

Baobab | Issue 64 | September 2012

Table of contents:

  • 2 - 2
    Farmers’ Organisations - the way to go
  • 4 - 7
    Farmers’ organisations are not a new idea and their advantages are widely recognised. Yet most are facing new challenges. There is growing competition for land, while international trade agreements are having a very negative effect on rural communities. Food prices are rising and climate change puts additional pressure on farming, but only a few national governments are providing an adequate response. How can farmers work together, and how can their organisations support them? These questions are now more relevant than ever.
  • 8 - 11
    The Village Savings and Loan (VSL) model is a selfmanaged and self-capitalised microfinance methodology. By having its members mobilise and intermediate local pools of investment finance, it offers savings, insurance and credit services in markets outside the reach of formal institutions.
  • 12 - 14
    Examples from all over the world show that collective action is the most efficient and sustainable way for farmers to achieve higher incomes. Beyond the economic benefits, however, farmer organisations support their members and local communities in many other ways.
  • 15 - 17
    Small-scale farmers are often constrained by poor access to markets and limited entrepreneurial skills for adding value to their produce. Rapid urbanisation is however opening up domestic and regional markets and offering new market opportunities for small-scale farmers to supply higher value produce. Supplying these markets offers both higher income and improved business relations for farmers but accessing these markets also requires significant upgrading in terms of product quality, quantities and business management practices.
  • 20 - 22
    After years of dependence on food aid in the semi-arid Eastern Kenya, Stephen Mwangangi from Kinyatta village in Yatta district, Eastern Kenya has discovered how to keep his family food secure using just one acre piece of land despite the droughts. He attributes his success to the farmer organisation he joined two years ago.
  • 23 - 24
    Farmers, particularly women, face a high degree of economic, legal and institutional uncertainties when investing in their land and other resources. They contribute to commercial agriculture, which includes high-value products such as vegetables and cut flowers for local and export markets. The decentralisation of decision-making towards local and community organisations is the key in changing people’s behaviour and implementing sustainable farming strategies.
  • 25 - 26
    Many different agricultural practices contribute positively in terms of biodiversity. Joining hands and working together is clearly one of them. This was shown by Green Net, the co-operative that recently hosted the participants of the agrobiodiversity@knowledged programme in Thailand. There they also saw the benefits that biodiversity can bring to both producers and their organisations.
  • 27 - 28
    Over the past decades Africa’s farmers have organised themselves at local, national, regional and continental levels. They have demonstrated their capacity to build their organisations contributing to food security.
  • 29 - 31
    Farmers’ organisations are voluntary member associations of farmers within particular localities formed to undertake common activities of interest to members. These organisations often coalesce around particular production systems or members’ priority value chains. Their intended outcomes include increasing household assets and availing agricultural services to members.
  • 34 - 34
    The community development handbook | Passion fruit farming handbook
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