AGRA forum to assist farmer organisations scale-up food production

The Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa’s (AGRA) Farmer Organisation Support Centre in Africa (FOSCA) programme in collaboration with the Southern African Confederation of Agricultural Unions (SACAU), is hosting a three-day forum from 26 to 28  November, 2012 in Johannesburg.

According to  a statement issued by the organisers, the forum is being organised to exchange solutions that will provide farmers better access to markets and financial services, improve food production and increase incomes.

The forum which began yesterday, brings together farmer organisations from more than 12 sub-Saharan Africa nations to learn from shared successes and challenges. The meeting is also being attended by farmers, farmer organisation representatives, agricultural service providers, scientists, development agencies and private-sector leaders.

Experts are expected to share best practices and participate in a field visit to the Johannesburg Fresh Produce Market and AGRISA, a commercial farm that helps smallholder farmers access markets large bulk buyers like supermarkets.

Commenting on the forum, FOSCA Lead Coordinator, Fadel Ndiame, said: “Smallholder farmers are critical to meeting the food security demands of the future,” adding, “Farmer organisations empower and connect hardworking men and women across Africa who deserve the opportunity to engage in the broader agricultural economy.”

For his part, CEO and Board Secretary of the SACAU, Ishmael Sunga, emphasised “Farmers are the key link between policymakers and the reality on the ground,” and that, “This forum will strengthen the managerial, organisational and technical capacity of farmer’s organisations, with an aim of helping them provide demand-driven and income enhancing services to smallholder farmers.”

The Johannesburg meeting is taking place against a backdrop of continued concerns about global food security.

With the population of Southern Africa expected to grow to more than 67 million people in 2050, farmer organisations play a pivotal role in linking smallholder farmers to financial resources and the markets they need to feed the future.

By Edmund Smith-Asante

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