NECOFA PARTICIPATES AT A FAMILY FARMING WORKSHOP IN MALAWI.

INTERNATIONAL FAMILY FARMING CUM FINANCE AGRICULTURE IN SOUTHERN AFRICA

            Family Farming contributes the highest percentage of the countries production yet little emphasis is put on it.  In most of the developing countries, Agriculture is the backbone of the countries economy and provides employment (directly/indirect) to over 60%.

            Between 24th – 26th October World Rural Forum organized a workshop campaign to celebrate the International Year for the Future Family Farming.  The workshop drew participants from different organization who represented about 19 countries.  The workshop mainly focused on challenges facing the family farming (small scale farmers).  Participants from different countries shared on different challenges and efforts made to minimize the challenges through presentations.  Through the presentation, major challenges were realized to be similar though efforts to fight them did differ from one country to another e.g. in some countries like Malawi and Tanzania farmers are given subsidies on agriculture inputs hence support to the growth of the countries economy. 

            The major challenges identified during the workshop included;-

(i)             Challenges of financing agriculture – since most of the small scale farmer do not have collaterals to give as security, they are unable to acquire loan from the financing institution (bank)

For donors to support family farming they should be affiliated with large scale farmers or institution leading to oppression.

(ii)           Environmental challenge

Unpredictable weather hence crop failure

Farmers are not in position to install irrigation kits due to lack of finance

(iii)          Market liberalization (removal of agricultural subsidies) in most of the countries, citizens use products from outside while we still have the same in the country in plenty.

(iv)          Weak policies

Policies guards the producer/consumer e.g. labeling

In support of the family farming, participants came up with suggestion to tackle the challenges which were to be forwarded to the relevant authorities in different countries.  Some of the resolution suggested by the participants included;-

  • Need to involve stakeholders in policy making and came up with a monitoring mechanism on implementation of the same.
  • Need to shoot up the 10% agricultural commitment to 6% growth.
  • Need to engage government in the briefings
  • Need to strengthen farmer organizations and NGOs to advocate for small scale farmers.
  • Need to empower small scale farmers to become commercial farmers
  • Need to innovation from researcher to be brought down to small scale farmers
  • Need to sensitize and develop I.C.T among farmers to assist in marketing.

Following the many resolutions suggested by the participants, the meeting resolved that the organizers take the mandate to comprehend resolution and come up with a document which should be sent to all participants as well as the related authorities i.e. ambassadors, government institutions and private bodies and later organize for another briefing involving all these sectors.

            Towards the support of International Family Farming (IFF) participants resolved to work from regional perspective (within the country).  In this connection Pelum association in each country was mandated the responsibility to write a memo on behalf of other member organization and forward to relevant authorities.

Government recognition of the family farming will uplift the production  hence national food security.

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