Together Strong – farmers’ organisations as the engine of a better agricultural policy for Africa

by Nicole Bolomey

"Freedom, responsibility and self-confidence are the basic prerequisites for participation in political processes, for instance by farmers' associations, which form the framework conditions for forward-looking agriculture".

This was emphasised by Parliamentary State Secretary Dr. Maria Flachsbarth at the panel discussion on 12 September 2018 at the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

The discussion highlighted the important role of farmers’ organisations in Africa’s agricultural policy and reflected the successful cooperation with the Andreas Hermes Academie (AHA) and the German Farmers’ Association (DBV), within the special initiative “ONE WORLD no hunger” (SEWOH) since 2015. Among those represented were Ms. Elisabeth Nsimadala, President of the East African Farmers’ Federation (EAFF), Dr. Leonard Mizzi, Head of Unit for Agriculture and Rural Development in the DG DEVCO (Directorate General for International Cooperation and Development) of the EU Commission, Mr Werner Schwarz, Vice-President of DBV, and Dr Sinare Sinare, President of SACAU, Southern African Confederation of Agricultural Unions (SACAU), and Kees Blockland Managing Director of Agriterra.

The panel discussion followed a two-day workshop near Nauen (Brandenburg) to which 17 high-ranking representatives of 7 national African farmers’ associations from the partner countries Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda and Burkina Faso as well as organisations of the regional farmers’ representations of West Africa (ROPPA), East Africa (EAFF) and Southern Africa (SACAU) were invited. They met with German and European guests from different agricultural policy contexts for a joint exchange on the systems of interest representation.

Important key messages of the event included the importance of reducing trade barriers for intra-African trade and the need for partners from the “global north” to support farmers with and through member-supported organisations in order to spread good practices.

In view of the positive effects and reactions of all participants, AHA received a grant from GIZ for 2019-21 by the GIZ-project “Agricultural Policy Advisory Fund” in order to further develop the agricultural trade policy capacities at regional and national level with the three regional associations EAFF, SACAU and ROPPA. The goal is to practice this by developing a strategy for the intraregional trade of a product group.

The Author

Nicole Bolomey

Director international