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Farmers Speak Out
The Vision and Recommendations of Africa's Farmers' Organizations for the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program
2010
International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and Network of Peasant and Producers' Organizations of West Africa (ROPPA)


Given its focus on supporting the role of farmer organizations in both implementation of its financed programs and in sharing this experience in policy discussions, IFAD organized a grant to support farmer organization participation in the New Economic Programme for Africa's Development (NEPAD) Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program (CAADP) process. More specifically, the grant financed assistance to regional farmer organizations to engage with their Regional Economic Community representatives and to articulate their priorities for smallholderfriendly agricultural development in sub-Saharan Africa.

The following documents the process and results of a series of workshops conducted in 2005 to facilitate farmer organization input to the development of the CAADP process. While five years have passed since the workshops, the recent acceleration of the CAADP process, particularly in the ECOWAS countries, is bringing a renewed focus at the regional and global levels to CAADP. Accordingly, IFAD is issuing the attached annex of the farmer views as they remain central voices and opinions to be taken into consideration in the prioritization of investments and national budgets by governments and partners. Fortunately, the role of farmers' organizations has been increasingly recognized in the context of CAADP, including a central role in Pillar 2 Framework for the Improvement of Rural Infrastructure and Trade-Related Capacities for Market Access, and more explicitly and encouragingly in the central role and partnership in the context of the Regional Agricultural Policy for West Africa (ECOWAP) and the associated ECOWAS Regional Compact.

Beyond its direct significance for the CAADP process, the consultative process, reported herein, represented the first joint activity among regional networks of farmer organizations. It was followed by further continent-wide advocacy activities leading to the planned creation of a Pan-African Platform of Farmers' Organizations and Producers (to include the farmers' network of the Maghreb) in 2010, and the proposal for formal recognition of this platform by the African Union and NEPAD.

IFAD continues to support the central role of farmers' organizations in Africa both through a continental program of capacity support funded by the European Commission, as well as through subregional and country level grants and project activities. It is IFAD's firm belief that inclusive, efficient and effective agricultural development in Africa depends on ensuring the capacity of and space for smallholder farmers to engage the process both as private sector actors and as policy advocates, drawing upon their direct experience and needs. Equally important is to ensure the role of farmers' organizations in facilitating direct feedback from farmers to the national and regional monitoring and evaluation to ensure that policies and investments are working to empower poor rural women and men to develop the skills and organizations they require to achieve higher income and improved food security. In this regard, IFAD intends to maintain and expand its support to farmers' organizations over the coming years, and to support their participation in the agricultural development dialogue at the local, national, regional and global levels.

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