Small family farms make up 85 per cent of all farms worldwide, and the people who live on them constitute the majority of the rural poor. To mitigate the challenges that come with working in isolation − and to increase profitability and productivity − these smallholders form organizations.
When smallholders and other resource-poor agricultural producers organize, they’re better positioned to improve their food security and move out of poverty.
Working together, it becomes easier to access farming inputs such as seeds, plant material, water, fertilizers and pesticides, and to aggregate produce to reach larger markets. Farmers are then able to reduce costs and improve their bargaining power. And when farmers thrive, other players in food systems also benefit.
Collaboration from the ground up
Organizations run by smallholder producers are not simply IFAD project beneficiaries – they’re strategic partners. Producer organizations are important institutions that deliver services to their members and speak on their behalf. They’re key actors in social and policy dialogue at the local, national and international levels.
IFAD involves rural producers and their organizations in the design and implementation of our strategies and the projects we support. We also help broker innovative public-private-producer partnerships that bring producer organizations and private sector operators together to ensure public-private collaborations are also benefiting small producers.
Consultation and dialogue for inclusive development
The Farmers’ Forum is the overall framework of the partnership between IFAD and organizations run by smallholder farmers. The Forum facilitates a permanent process of consultation between these producer organizations, IFAD and governments, focusing on rural development and poverty reduction. At the global level, the Farmers’ Forum was established in 2005, and facilitates an ongoing, bottom-up dialogue between producer organizations from all over the world, IFAD and our Member States.
Since its launch, the Farmers’ Forum has been a privileged platform where rural producer organizations have expressed clear concerns, requests and recommendations to improve the effectiveness of IFAD-funded projects.
Producer organizations need specific attention and support to bolster their effectiveness and sustainability. That’s why we also support them through regional grants and programmes that strengthen their capacity building efforts and institutional development.
IFAD and Farmers' Organizations - Partnership in progress: 2014-2015
Support to Farmers’Organizations in Africa Programme (SFOAP) - Main Phase 2013-2017
This brief paper presents the main phase of SFOAP (2013-2015).
During this period the Programme will help African FOs to evolve into more stable, performing and accountable organizations that effectively represent their members and advise them on farming enterprises.