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You are here: Home Magazines Global edition Farmer organisations - Up to the job

Farmer organisations - Up to the job

last modified Jan 16, 2015 10:13 AM

This issue of Farming Matters pays special attention to farmers’ organisations. In what different ways do farmers organise? What problems exist in farmers’ organisations and how are these dealt with?

Farmers’ organisations can play important roles in developing supply management schemes and various income insurance programmes. Farmers can learn from each other, about production, marketing, rights, etc., and join a platform to learn about others’ experiences.

As a group, farmers can exercise more political pressure for change. Yet, even though there are many potential benefits for small-scale farmers who become organised, the logistics and governance of farming organisations can be problematic. Farmer organisations do not automatically benefit everyone in the community: are they, for example, open to everyone, including female farmers?

Farming Matters | 28.3 | September 2012

Featured articles

Table of contents:

  • 2 - 2
    Deadline: December 1st, 2012
  • 3 - 3
    Julio, Ednea and their children from the Padre Jesus community, Minas Gerais, Brazil.
  • 5 - 5
    The past decade has witnessed the growing and strengthening of peasant and family farmers’ movements around the world: organisations such as La Via Campesina, ROPPA, PROPAC and AFA have strengthened their voices in regional and global fora.
  • 7 - 7
    Farming Matters welcomes comments, ideas and suggestions from its readers. Please send an e-mail to or write to P.O. Box 90, 6700 AB Wageningen, the Netherlands.
  • 8 - 9
    Farmer 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.
  • 10 - 13
    Farmer organisations can be both effective and efficient in training their own members. Their work, however, also reminds us that agricultural training is not just a technical field. Their commitment to agro-ecology shows that, above all, training is a political issue – and they’re challenging us to follow them.
  • 14 - 17
    Interview > Elisabeth Atangana - As a farmer, the newly appointed FAO Special Ambassador for Co-operatives, Elisabeth Atangana, is familiar with farmer organisations at many different levels.
  • 18 - 20
    In 2004 the province of Aceh in Indonesia was affected by a devastating earthquake and tsunami. The impact on rural communities was particularly harsh, exacerbating the existing poverty and poor living conditions caused by a long separatist conflict. A network of women farmers established under these difficult circumstances is not only benefitting its participants, but also their families and communities.
  • 21 - 21
    Farmers need to participate in the processes that shape all rules and regulations, argues Christian Gouët.An approach such as the Participatory Generation of Positions and Proposals (PGPP) can help link these organisations with policy makers.
  • 22 - 24
    Many projects and development efforts fail because they do not pay sufficient attention to ensuring that farmers’ organisations represent all farmers, or to using participatory processes to identify and address the problems farmers face. Nepal’s Biodiversity Conservation and Development Committees (BCDCs), which aim to conserve and utilise local crop species and varieties, focus on both aspects and are proving to be very effective.
  • 25 - 25
    How can individual households within a community work together to address challenges of food security and rehabilitate the natural resource base? Together with its partners, Resource Efficient Agricultural Production Canada (REAP-Canada) has developed an approach called the Agro- Ecological Village (AEV), which attempts to reach this goal. The AEV is a participatory approach to rural development that invests in skill-building and community organisation, incorporating community input and planning into each step. This ensures that activities are flexible and revolve around the community’s interests and opportunities.
  • 26 - 27
    In spite of their differences, there are some essential features that are common to all farmer organisations. One of these is the need to find a balance between their interests as a group and the interests of its individual members. How - and when - is this balance found?
  • 28 - 29
    Reclaim the UN from corporate capture / Beekeeping training for farmers in the Himalayas / To cook a continent / Learning for sustainability in times of accelerating change / Women reclaiming sustainable livelihoods / The great food robbery and more
  • 30 - 31
    Whatever farmers want to achieve, they are more likely to achieve it if they get organised. This is why Agriterra, a Dutch organisation for agricultural development co-operation, supports associations of farmers, regardless of their type.
  • 32 - 33
    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.
  • 34 - 35
    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-op 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.
  • 36 - 36
    The Livestock Breeders Co-operative Societies (LIBCOs) are playing an important element in reconstructing the livestock industry in northern Sri Lanka – and their role is likely to increase.
  • 37 - 37
    (september 2012) Farmer organisations represent the social capital needed in the rural areas, says Thomas Mupetesi. National policy makers should pay attention to the role that farmers’ organisations can play in tackling environmental issues, building on what organisations like ours are doing. What we need to do is to share the lessons learnt and show what these organisations are already doing to respond to climate change.
  • 38 - 40
    In 2009, Mabomo and Mungaze, two communities in Gaza Province, southern Mozambique, welcomed the idea of a small project – and were surprised when asked to participate in the design and implementation of a Participatory Monitoring and Evaluation (PME) system around it. This system has promoted learning and empowerment among the members of these two communities, something that is now reflected in their consensus building approach to decision-making and actions.
  • 41 - 41
    (September 2012) There is a difference between producing more food and ending hunger, says Eric Holt-Giménez. To end hunger we must end poverty and inequality. Conventional agriculture’s record on these issues is abysmal. To end hunger we need agro-ecological approaches and structural reforms that ensure that resource-poor farmers have the land and resources they need for sustainable livelihoods.
  • 42 - 43
    Many people were disappointed with the outcome of the Rio+20 conference in June. Nonetheless, it was a very good opportunity for many representatives of the civil society, from practically all countries, to gather and discuss the challenges that still exist for transforming the global agricultural system into one that respects and supports family farming and agro-ecology. What can we do now to capitalise on the results of the conference and keep the Rio+20 momentum going? Who should we work with? Partners of the AgriCultures Network share their ideas.
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