Six farmers’ organisations, one change and one mission

by Thorben Persch

Markets are collapsing, prices are soaring or plummeting into the abyss, goods are stuck where they are - Paul Zakariya details current problems in the agricultural sector.
A different kind of conference: participating from home or office
A different kind of conference: participating from home or office

Despite it being a digital meeting, everyone feels the approval of the other participants. Together with the association’s president and the youth representative, Paul Zakariya is representing the Zimbabwe Farmers‘ Union (ZFU) for its project “Transitional Agriculture”. In addition to the ZFU, participants include national farmers’ associations from Malawi, Germany, Ghana, Russia and Rwanda. In May and June they met for the first project seminars.

Originally, the six organisations were to meet together at joint conferences with the World Farmers’ Federation and discuss change in agriculture. Caught up by reality, the event transformed into a digital one and, instead of a conference, three seminars were held. Despite this, the content remained the key focus.

“The project is not about a mere exchange of expressions of will and political statements”, clarified Julia Fendel, Senior Programme Manager at AgrarKontakte International (AKI) e.V., responsible for realising the project, “but rather about the institutionalization of an international exchange of experts!” For this reason, the project is designed to last three years and participants are working on concrete topics, such as marketing and logistics. Maria Gerster-Bentaya, Moderator at Transitional Agriculture, looks back: “Diversity was a particular attraction. Right at the beginning we noticed the different priorities in the organisations since the COVID-19 pandemic. In Russia, for example, AKKOR mediates between farmers and supermarkets, while NASFAM in Malawi supports its members with storage/warehousing.”

This diversity has great added value, so participants benefit e.g. from the experiences of others. The current seminars deal with the topic of Capacity Development. What results will the six farmers’ organisations generate there?

The Author

Thorben Persch

Programme Manager international