Promoting family farming


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The challenge is to support the creation of conditions for greater productivity of family agriculture and a fair and just remuneration of labor of the peasants.

Some elements related to the context of family farming in Africa

Agriculture is one of the most important pillars of African economies. Globally, it contributes to 30-40% of the GDP of African countries and provides 50 to 80% of revenue from exports. To date, agricultural production in Africa is provided mainly by small producers and family farms. According to the 2008 report of the World Bank, 1.5 billion people live on small farms. In sub-Saharan Africa, 80% of farms are family-owned and 60% of the active population work there.

However, despite the role and importance of family agriculture in African economies, farmers, the main architects of this wealth working and still living in difficult conditions. International and national economic and agricultural policies (the introduction of GMOs in agriculture, control of seed systems and grabbing agricultural land, etc.) are not always favorable. Today, the fertile lands, which were used for production for local food markets, are diverted to industrial agriculture whose products for the world market.

The policies imposed by the IMF and the World Bank in the majority of African countries have created a structural dependence on food imports, the dominant ideology imposing the development of export crops over food crops. In this momentum, agricultural policies in African countries have been liberalized and their support structures in rural areas (extension, input supply, storage and marketing, credit, price stabilization) have been phased out and left the small producers helpless against the forces of the international market.

Indeed, most of the accompanying measures (regulatory, structural and financial) have not always followed the withdrawal of the State from productive sectors, including agriculture. Then, the opening of local markets, brutally expose African farmers to unfair competition with subsidized products from the North. By the fact of the opening of markets, surplus production (cereals and animal products) industrialized countries have gone cheap on the African market. This greatly contributes to kill domestic production initiatives identical or substitutable products, whose production costs become higher than the price of subsidized imports. At a second level, the production of foodstuffs for export is made with little or no cost, given the distorted world prices by agricultural subsidies in developed countries. The case of African cotton is a palpable example.

Moreover, beside the main plots (EPAs, liberalization of agricultural markets advocated by the WTO, the EU, etc.) and different offensive for food colonization of Africa (GMOs, land grabbing, etc.), a number of factors common to family agriculture partly explain the many situations of transitory food insecurity. Indeed, with the exception of some areas where intensive farming has become, due to the increasing scarcity of cultivable land, the productive systems of small family farms, are very extensive and largely depend on the rain. The assets per cultivated area is low (less than 1 hectare), the tooling is often rudimentary, even if farmers often show ingenuity and a renewed ability to adapt. Animal manure, sparse, often remains poorly valued as animal traction is still underdeveloped. Imported input inaccessible financially, are usually reserved for peasant supervised projects / programs or rice monocultures for export (banana, cotton, coffee, cocoa, pineapple).

Justification of our action: why intervene in this area?

Inades Training believes that family farming is the basis of security and food sovereignty of people in Africa. Thus, the sine qua non solution to end hunger and food insecurity in Africa is support (political, economic, technical and institutional) and the promotion of family farming. Improving productivity, family farming will feed thousands of people each year suffer from hunger in sub-Saharan Africa.

On the other hand, Inades-Formation think family farming promotes better human assets, creating jobs, slowing the rural exodus and less exhausting natural resources when properly followed. Also, it adds value and strengthen the technical expertise of peasants / farmers. Finally, family farming can develop alternative technologies using in agricultural and livestock products as soil fertilizer. These technologies enable the practice of a clean and sustainable agriculture.

Accompanying actions in family farming initiatives

Inades Training is implementing several programs / support projects across 10 African countries in which it operates. These programs / projects aim to stimulate the systematization, experimentation and consolidation of support approach to the production, processing, preservation and collective marketing of agricultural products by small producers / producers (agricultural collective Entrepreneurship). Thus, it is to accompany the self-promotion initiatives of small farmers / producers around the agricultural sector in order to enhance their expertise in agriculture. To do this, Inades Training supports socio-professional organizations (PSOs) of peasants / farmers around the community self-help initiatives.

The strategy of supporting family farming initiatives

The approach to implement programs / projects support, has four (4) steps. It begins with an exploratory analysis to establish the baseline, identify strengths and weaknesses, the levers of development to help in decision making. After a return to the peasants / farmers, they are involved in the identification of a series of priority actions to be implemented to solve the problems identified by the exploratory analysis. A program / project takes shape from the identified actions. Inades Training contributes to the monitoring and evaluation of program / project through building sessions of technical capacity and support missions / advisory and animation mutual learning spaces.

In practice, Inades Training uses the accompanying approach peasant organizational dynamics (ADOPT). With this approach, Inades Training has developed tools and procedures to enable farmers’ organizations to design their development strategies and define the institutional forms adapted to their conditions and conducive to good governance.

Inades Training contributes to capacity building of managers of these peasant organizations, agents of state technical services and non-state advisory support and other development actors.

Inades-Formation participates in consultation frameworks initiated for the definition of national strategies and policies that are taken into account the concerns of rural Africa. This is also why it is involved in the reflection on the place and role of peasant organizations in the formulation of development policy processes. Because these policies should have a positive impact on poverty reduction and economic development in rural Africa.

To date, two types of farmers’ organizations are experimenting. It’s about :

farmer organizations to union whose mission is to influence development policies so that the interests of producers are taken into account.
farmers’ organizations in character both economic and social. Members will provide common services shall make available to their organizations financial resources and know-how. Inades Training strengthens their entrepreneurial capacities of rural microenterprises.
Publications Inades Training on agriculture

Several booklets series are to strengthen the capacity of development actors and small producers. For purchase, refer to the National Offices in countries where Inades-formation is represented or contact the General Secretariat in Abidjan (Ivory Coast).

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