NFO’s making inroads

Following a training and advocacy workshop in South Africa, SACAU has noted a greater recognition of the role National Farmers’ Organisations (NFO’s) by stakeholders in their respective countries. Young farmers’ organisations in particular have seen an increase in the demand for their participation in key policy and programme discussions and meetings.

According to Benito Eliasi, SACAU Capacity Development Advisor, the trends are an indication of the integrity and credibility of NFO’s in strengthening their role in agricultural development. “Most of these NFOs have been in existence for less than 10 years, but have built confidence among their strategic partners to become very important partners in the programme and policy discourse in their respective countries,” he explained.

To illustrate this point delegates learned at the workshops that in a space of 10 months last year, five NFOs namely ACT (Tanzania), CPM (Madagascar), SNAU (Swaziland), SeyFA (Seychelles) and LENAFU (Lesotho) combined received a total of 247 invitations. This translate into approximately 22 invitations per month among them. These invitations can be seen as evidence that various stakeholders recognize and acknowledge the value of NFOs in development policy structures. Finance from International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), European Commission (EC), Agence Francaise de Development (AFD) and Swiss Agency for Development and Corporation (SDC) has provided facilities and human capacity to these NFOs to make their visibility and .participations possible.

In addition to these invitations, NFOs are also serving as members in various important agricultural committees in their countries and regions. It has also been established that leaders and management in these NFOs are participating in 41 committees, taskforces or working groups. Through these committees they contribute to decision-making pertaining to a number of issues in agriculture, whilst their presence in such committees also ensures that the voices of farmers are heard.