Farmers from Germany and 15 African states at the “Farmers’ Exchange Across Continents” workshop in May 2013.
Photo: AFASA
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Farmer organisations that deal with policy and advocacy need a lot of specific skills. Exchange programmes with their counterparts in the North can help local farmer organisation in the Souht tap their potential.

Thompson et al. (2009) succinctly summarise the support that is needed by farmer organisations that deal with policy and advocacy, namely:

  • Focus on leadership development – also of women leaders – to strengthen the farmer organisations. This includes sensitising members to be more self-reliant rather than dependent on external parties to provide resources and build the capacity of farmer leaders with potential.
  • Develop systems to provide up-to-date information to farmer organisations to facilitate their participation in developing agriculture and rural development policies.
  • Second professional staff to farmer organisations to improve advocacy and policy engagement activities.
  • Provide training on strategic and operational planning and on evidence-based advocacy skills.
  • Encourage formation and strengthening of national, regional and international networks of farmers’ organisations.

Local farmer organisations can learn much from farmers in the Northern hemisphere, as was illustrated by the “Farmers’ Exchange Across Continents” seminar which was held in 2013 by farmers from Germany with their counterparts from 15 African states.

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