Agriculture

IFAD Moves to Strengthen Regional Farmer Partnerships

The IFAD Regional Director for East and Southern Africa Sana Jatta (front left) makes a submission during the first regional farmers' forum held on May 21.

The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) has launched its pioneer Farmers’ Forum in East and Southern Africa which is expected to enhance collaborations in a bid to lift rural farmers from poverty. The forum, view hosted in Kampala between May 21 and 22 brought together over 40 farmer leaders, visit this site 28 farmer organisations and 260 representatives from IFAD funded projects in 17 countries across the region.

This development is a realization of the 2005 decision by IFAD to decentralize the farmer partnerships to the regional and further down to national level where the actual work is being implemented.

In a joint communiqué issued on Tuesday by Sana Jatta, buy the IFAD Regional Director and Elizabeth Mpofu the Chairperson of Zimbabwe Small Holder Organic Farmers Forum, they described the event as remarkable.

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The forums will be steered by a committee consisting of members from East and Southern Africa Forum, East Africa Farmers Federation, Southern Africa Confederation of Agricultural Union and Inter-continental Network of Authorized Farmers Organization.

Uganda is among the 13 partner countries including Burundi, Kenya, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Rwanda, Swaziland, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Tanzania, Ethiopia and Mozambique.

During the forum, farmers appreciated efforts by IFAD for promoting operational collaboration at national regional and global level. They also took cognizance of sustainable rural development and promotion of climate resilience for small scale farmers, appreciating the diversity of farming systems.

However, they appealed to IFAD for support in enabling sustainable access to markets and finance for small scale farmers as well as promoting inclusivity of pastoralists, livestock breeders and those within the value chain.

In his remarks, Jatta said; “IFAD welcomes the decentralization of farmers’ forum and takes it as key accountability instrument for development effectiveness if it’s supported investments in the region. The commitment will guide IFAD farmers’ organizations between mid-2017 and the end of 2019.”

Key elements of the partnerships will be on periodic consultation to monitor country level collaboration and supporting development of dialogue between government, farmers and development partners for sustainable rural development.

“They will also carry out joint mapping of farmers’ organizations at national level to explore ways of developing cooperation with IFAD programs,” Jatta added.

In an interview with ChimpReports, Elizabeth Mpofu said; “We are discussing transformation of rural farmers through inclusive finance mechanisms but there’s no way governments can eliminate hunger and poverty without involving the ordinary farmers.”

“We are looking at farmer leaders in each of the 13 countries taking the responsibility to monitor the projects and then report to the regional steering committees,” she added.

Atleast 300 policy makers, development partners, government and farmer representatives are meeting for the IFAD regional implementation workshop in Munyonyo to find ways of expanding access to financial services for people living in rural areas. The workshop will mainly review the implementation of IFAD-funded projects in the East and Southern Africa region.

There are up to 44 ongoing IFAD funded programmes in the region worth USD 1.6 billion of investment while in Uganda alone, IFAD has financed 16 rural development programmes and projects for a total cost of USD 1.4 billion with USD 385.7 million.

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