In September 2019, CTA held an experience capitalisation workshop around their partnership programme ‘Building the next generation of farmers in Africa’, highlighting four key areas of impact: advocacy, value chain, digitalisation and capitalisation.
The strategic partnership between CTA, the Pan-African Farmers’ Organisation (PAFO) and AgriCord, has supported regional farmers’ organisations (FOs) in Africa to scale up initiatives that strengthen the management capacity of FOs, improve services for members, and support farmer-led businesses. Three key themes of the programme have led to its success: promoting the digitalisation of FOs and farmer-led businesses, developing the entrepreneurial and agribusiness skills of farmers, and initiating policy dialogue around FO development.
Also central to the programme has been a focus on documenting experiences to reflect and learn from successes, and to build coalitions for the future. The CTA-led 3-day workshop in September aimed to complete a capitalisation process of the projects, and document a series of case studies to inform other development practitioners and kick-start discussions online. A video by the programme also serves to summarise significant achievements and recommendations for the future through insightful interviews with implementing staff, policymakers, and FO leaders.
“The PAFO project aims to highlight practices put in place by producers so that we can gather evidence to influence policy and build an argument for our advocacy”, says Sessi Akoha, monitoring and evaluation principal officer for the network of FOs and producers in West Africa (ROPPA). “The economic model that family farms represent is therefore integrated into policy and that’s a big result for us”, he continues. Also speaking on how the Data4Ag programme has raised the profile of national and regional-level FOs, Fatma Ben Rejeb, CEO for PAFO-Africa says: “We’re having a more participatory role in decision-making. Now, internationally, through UN organisations like FAO and IFAD, and through regional organisations like the EU, we are also present... They’re starting to consider the common positions of African farmers.”
To further influence national and regional policy and deliver benefits for FO farmer members, the programme has trained and supported eight organisations to take up ICTs and collect data on their producers. The Igara Tea Factory (IGTF) in Uganda, for example, has worked with CTA to profile their farmer members and geo-reference their farms, which has led to significant impacts for FO management – and for producers’ creditworthiness. As a result of the farm mapping, for instance, more than 1,000 IGTF tea producers now have access to credit. The project has so far registered 220,000 farmers and trained 3,716 farmer members in operating data recording systems, and 16,400 in data management – and is continuing to scale out the impacts. “We have seen the improvement in data management at the respective factories that we are working with – because we have tried to upscale these activities to other smallholder factories or agribusinesses”, says Hamlus Owoyesiga, IGTF network and systems administrator.
For the Confederation of Associations of Agricultural Producers for Development (CAPAD), based in Burundi, the main objective for joining the PAFO-CTA programme was also to improve the effectiveness of its services to enhance benefits to farmers states Annick Sezibera, CAPAD executive secretary. Through the programme, CAPAD has supported 39 smallholder cooperatives to digitally register over 14,000 farmers. Aggregating farmer information in this way has enabled the FO to improve seasonal farm planning and to offer discounted, seed-related services for its members. “We were able to bulk buy 5,000 sacks of 110 kg of seed rice, and the rice and maize cooperatives were also able to bulk buy the fertilisers they needed”, says Sezibera.
In Cameroon, programme initiatives have focused more on improving women farmers’ capacities working under the sub-regional platform of FOs in central Africa (PROPAC). Women of a cassava FO called SOCOOPMATPA, for instance, have enhanced their entrepreneurial skills and, as a result, increased the quality of their value-added products to become more competitive on the market, explains Marie Joseph Medzeme Engama, PROPAC coordinator in Cameroon. Commercial partnerships have since been established between the women and local hotels and restaurants, Engama adds.
“A knowledge management approach can help organisations to analyse these innovations and solutions to help them share them so there are more and more beneficiaries of these results”, emphasises Jorge Chavez-Tafur, CTA project coordinator for experience capitalisation, speaking on the importance of documenting outcomes so impacts can be scaled out. “We can always share some of these experiences and other organisations don’t have to reinvent the wheel, they can learn from us, they can use us to build their capacity”, says Elizabeth Nsimadala, President of PAFO and the Eastern Africa Farmers’ Federation (EAFF) in Uganda.
“Looking to the future, CTA intends to take a step back, says Isolina Boto, manager of the CTA Brussels office, so that the scaling initiatives can be taken forward by the national and regional organisations themselves.”