ROPPA hosts a supervision mission from IFAD
From July 10 to 14, 2023, the Network of West African Farmers and Agricultural Producers’ Organizations (ROPPA) hosted an online and in-person supervision mission from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) for the FO4ACP programme.
The official opening of the mission was marked by the words of the Executive Secretary of ROPPA, Mr. Ousseini OUEDRAGO. Over the days, the team continued to discuss financial management, including discussions with CTOP and NACOFAG, two key members of ROPPA. These discussions took place in person to ensure that the project’s financial resources are used effectively and responsibly. The mission also included several technical meetings to discuss the progress of the programme’s implementation.
Another important aspect of the mission is the discussion on synergies with national IFAD programs and other initiatives, by identifying opportunities for collaboration and strengthening the impact of the FO4ACP programme.
FO4ACP holds its Knowledge management event in Kigali, Rwanda
The FO4ACP knowledge management event organised and hosted by PAFO was held in Kigali, Rwanda from May 16th to 28th, 2023. The event took place about one year after the mid-term review of the program to take stock of what was done and share the experiences and good and promising practices among the farmers’ organisations involved in the program. The theme was “Sharing the knowledge that makes us stronger”. The main objective was to exchange good and promising practices among the FO4ACP implementing partners, to learn how others have improved the effectiveness and quality of their work, as well as opportunities for networking by linking ideas.
There were 93 in-person attendees, including 30 women and 31 youth, while 180 participants joined online. Participants came from around the world, including FO4ACP partners and friends, PAFO partners, and other essential stakeholders. The event saw representation from 34 countries and was officially opened by a representative of the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources in Rwanda. The event lasted for two and a half days. It featured discussions on various topics in different formats, such as panel discussions, round tables, PowerPoint presentations, workshops and an interactive marketplace.
A total of 41 case studies were part of the event, with 29 being presented or discussed during the sessions and 12 showcased in the marketplace.
The event was a buzzing, interactive and collaborative workspace with lively discussions and practical demonstrations that focused on six key thematic areas identified during the mid-term review and discussions with the farmers’ organisations involved in the program:
(i) Access to finance;
(ii) Services to members and business plans and their implementation;
(iii) Climate change and resilience,
(v) Policy Engagement and Advocacy, including data collection for informed decisions and
(vi) Inclusive approaches in FO4ACP activities.
Access to Finance for Farmers’ Organisations
220 farmers’ organizations in 12 countries across West Africa and Asia and the Pacific responded to a survey in 2022 about how they access capital for their activities.
Farmers’ organizations across the globe play a key role in aggregating and organizing small-scale farmers, and in leading climate-related activities such as reforestation and adaptation. Despite that, only 6 out of 220 farmers’ organizations surveyed in the two regions accessed sources of green finance. This insight emerged from a recent report released by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the Farmers’ Organizations for Africa, Caribbean and Pacific programme (FO4ACP) and the Smallholder and Agri-SME Finance and Investment Network (SAFIN).
Pacific: first Agriculture Knowledge Management Fair
On March 23rd and 24th, 2023 Pacific Farmer Organisations Knowledge Management Fair was held with the purpose of sharing and publicising useful current information produced by many agents of change in the Pacific. It showcased some of the most prominent content from across the region including farmer training guides & publications, video productions, website design, social media channels, as well as project case studies, “Lessons Learned” and impact stories. Some of the training materials were produced by Pacific Farmer Organisations, and others were submissions of the fair.
More than 150 resources submitted
On Day 1, the panellists from Street Smart Media Fiji (Shania Singh and Sikeli Savu) delivered the keynote address on “Reaching the Masses through Media”. Also the ways that social media and various electronic mediums like videos and websites have played an important role in knowledge management for farmers were discussed by Kenta Nemoto (Hawai’i Ulu Cooperative, John Caldeira (Fiji Beekeepers Association) and Crystal Ake (MORDI Tonga Trust). More than 150 resources were submitted by 33 organisations from 8 countries with Hawai’i Ulu Cooperative and Rise Beyond the Reef announced as the winners of the Website Category and Video Category respectively.
On Day 2, panellists from The Center for Getting Things Started (Koh Ming Wei) delivered the keynote address on “The Digital Era of Farmer Resources”. Karen Mills (Mudrenicagi Estate) and Angela Birch (Pacific Farmer Organisations) presented an overview on the impactful work of Farmer Training Guides while Adelino Lorens (Island Food Community of Pohnpei) and Samantha Magick (Islands Business) spoke on the Case Study showcase covering Lessons Learned and Impact Stories. Koko Siga Pacific and Islands Business were announced the winners of the Farmer Training Guides & Publication Category and Case Studies Category.
The Pacific Agriculture Knowledge Management Fair highlighted the passion for exploration and storytelling in the agriculture community, and showcased the beauty of the Pacific. The Pacific Farmer Organisations plans to continue similar beneficial knowledge-sharing for farmers.
Panafrican farmers’ organisation (PAFO)
Digitization reaps rewards for Farmers’ Organizations in the Pacific
Technological advances in agriculture are shifting gears in real-time. Not only in terms of production, but also through viable game-changers such as cutting-edge information and data analytics. Increasing innovation, as well as understanding the needs and challenges of farmers to act fast.
In the Pacific, PIFON, Pacific Farmer Organisations, carried out a membership survey as part of the FO4ACP (Farmers’ Organizations for Africa, Caribbean and Pacific) programme to know their farmers’ better and determine their priority needs.
Digital technology to power data collection
The programme started towards the end of 2019, but with the COVID-19 crisis, everything was delayed. To continue with the planned survey, adaptation was non-negotiable and alternative methods of gathering information were explored.
Enter TraSeable Solutions Limited. IFAD offices in the Pacific and PIFON were familiar with the software app. Once on board, the software owners and developers incorporated a survey feature into an existing app to enable PIFON and its farmers’ organizations to digitally gather information. Initial plans were cast aside, and digital solutions took center stage.
Four Farmers’ Organizations (FOs) from Fiji, Papua New Guinea, and the Solomon Islands participated in the survey. The survey was designed on Google Forms and uploaded by TraSeable Solutions on the app with the option of taking the survey in English, Fiji iTaukei and Solomon Island Pidgin.
Across the board, members were impressed by the ease of using the app and well as benefits reaped. Both online and offline it enabled FOs to update their membership register and improve their understanding of members’ needs. For example, thanks to the app, Nature’s Way Cooperative executed a timely response for pest control. Once the FO discovered the negative impact fruit flies were having on local produce, eighty-four litres of protein bait were distributed to eradicate the pests from farms. A feat not possible before the introduction of digital tools. FOs also walked away with an updated membership list and digital profile of their members.
The future is promising. The initial goal of using the TraSeable app was to facilitate data collection for the pilot survey given FOs’ time and resource constraints. The survey not only succeeded in this respect but also introduced FOs to the benefits of digitization- an untapped resource which proved to be immensely beneficial. All participants wish to continue using the app, for different purposes, allowing quicker access to essential information, and interest has trickled into the wider community- a testament to the power of technology and the impact of digital solutions in developing countries despite limited resources.
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Farmers’ Organizations bolster youth entrepreneurship in Congo
In Congo, eight university graduates seeking self-employment and determined to address the problem of rampant malnutrition in their country joined forces to create the Groupement KIESSE Mwana Service (GKMS) cooperative in 2017.
According to UNICEF, 26% of children in Congo are chronically malnourished. Choices are limited for parents seeking affordable formulas that fulfill their children’s nutritional needs. Taking matters into their own hands, GKMS created the “Mwana” range of enriched porridge for small children.
The enriched porridge comes in two flavors and is produced with local cereals loaded with minerals and vitamins necessary for the healthy growth of children. 300 g packages sell at 700 FCFA while market prices for products of multinationals range from 1000- 1500 FCFA for 200g, making this local product more accessible to the larger population.
Scaling up youth-led enterprise
The National Consultation of Farmer Organizations of Congo (CNOP Congo), supported by the FO4ACP programme, supported eight business plans financially, one of which was GKMS.
The financial ant technical support received, was instrumental in scaling up the small youth-led enterprise by boosting productivity and providing trainings. GKMS started off with two grinders with fuel generators and small machines such as sealers and printers. Production peaked at 6,500 packets a month. Financial support from FO4ACP meant efficient machinery was sourced. As a result, production has almost doubled. Furthermore, as part of the FO4ACP programme GKMS staff were trained in business practices.
In addition to the creation of eight permanent jobs, during the holiday period many commercial agents are hired, most of which are students. The increase in sales provides the members of the cooperatives with a decent income, “I learned everything at GKMS. I started as a commercial agent without any market experience. Most women of my age don’t dare to do this type of work. But I persevered, and today I am the new machine room manager,” says single mother Leslie Ngambou.
To ensure its supply of raw materials, the GKMS cooperative has set up a productive alliance with producer cooperatives, farmers, and traders with whom they collaborate with to obtain supplies. And they don’t plan to slow down. GKMS hopes to sell its products throughout Congo and beyond. For now, a new collaboration is underway with Association Vision Vert (AVV) which aims to distribute products throughout the northern part of Congo.
The case of GKMS is living proof that supporting agro-food processing sets off chains of events that not only improve the livelihoods of business owners but can have ripple effects when coupled with the efforts of ambitious young people who care about the welfare of the community at large.