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CTA – ROPPA: meeting new challenges

February 23, 2015

The Network of Farmers' and Agricultural Producers' Organisations of West Africa (ROPPA) will be fifteen years old in 2015. The network, which brings together ten of the sub-region's countries, recently visited CTA to formalise relations that are already long-standing and sound. Interview with Djibo Bagna, the President of ROPPA.

Group-photoWhat are the main challenges facing ROPPA and how does its five-year plan incorporate them?

Djibo Bagna: ROPPA's five-year plan is a tool that enables it to structure its operations. Until now, ROPPA has relied on advocacy and capacity-building to establish its position. We have achieved positive results in this way. However, to have a greater influence on the political balance, we have realised that we must strengthen the economic aspect. Until very recently, West African producers produced for local consumption without planning the development of new markets and working on value chains and changing accordingly. ROPPA therefore established the Farmers' University . We have also organised the Business Forum, aimed at bringing together producers, economic operators and the private sector (in particular the agri-food sector). The producers must not wait for the market – on the contrary, they must prepare it themselves. Consumers have specific expectations in terms of quality and food safety. ROPPA's strategic plan provides very clear guidance on these issues.

Another challenge facing ROPPA is the issue of politics. We are placing increasing emphasis on multi-actor dialogue with the politicians, farmers' organisations, private operators and development partners. This is with a view to ensuring that the funding of agriculture moves in the right direction. The example of the evaluation (supported by CTA) of the Maputo Declaration (commitment by the African States to devote 10 % of their national budgets to agriculture, made in 2003) has led to major advances by opening discussions between those States that made and kept to this commitment and those that considered the Declaration to be of little significance.

Group-photo2How can CTA's regional approach in West Africa contribute to the resilience of West African agriculture?

CTA's regional approach forms part of a regional political dynamic, a pact with all of the stakeholders. CTA is a preferred partner of ROPPA, providing both technical and financial support for its activities with its expertise and by opening the way to new partnerships and relations with other regions. Information and communication technologies, climate change and particular target groups (women and young people), which are at the core of CTA's programme, are also a central focus of our concerns. Consequently, our partnership cannot fail to be productive.