Build capacity of Farmer Based Organisations – Provost
Professor Kwame Offei, Provost of the College of Agriculture and Consumer Sciences, has called for capacity building of Farmer Based Organisations (FBOs) to enable them to contribution effectively to the formulation of agriculture policies.
He said areas where the FBOs capacities could be enhanced included basic tools for policy analysis, lobbying, articulation of their position on an agricultural policies and development of strategies favourable to their members.
Prof. Offei was speaking at a conference in Accra for Regional and National Farmer Organisations in Africa.
The conference, organised by the African Investment Climate Research (AFRICRES), in partnership with Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) was on theme: “Farmer Organizations in Africa: Strengthening Information-sharing and Partnership”.
The meeting was also to give stakeholders the platform to discuss issues affecting smallholder farmers such as getting better seeds, improving soil health and provision of better access to market.
Prof. Offei, who spoke on the topic: “Strengthening Farmer Organisations in Africa: The Case of Ghana,” said for active FBOs to be sustainable in the current market-oriented economy, they must develop an effective management system with clear vision to identify opportunities for generating surplus and investing the extra to take care of their community and members.
He called on the private sector and other players in the agric sector to assist FBOs such as cooperatives to cultivate voluntary and open membership at all levels.
He said extension agents should also facilitate the development of cohesion and trust among members of FBOs through the delivery of effective services.
He called for collaborative programmes such as seminars and conferences to be organised continuously to engage various stakeholders in agricultural development to ensure information flow as well as form strong innovative network and partnership to champion farmer organisations in Africa.
Mr Fadel Ndiame, Lead Co-ordinator of AGRA’s Farmer Organisation Support Centre in Africa, said AGRA was working in many countries across Africa to help smallholder farmers lift themselves and their communities out of poverty.
He said AGRA had also developed practical solutions to significantly boost farm productivity and income by providing modern knowledge and tools to farmers as well as safeguard the environment.
He noted that AGRA’s funding and technical expertise span the entire agriculture food chain, seeds, soils, research, credit, markets and infrastructure.