Time for sharing experiences: the 2017 edition of the SFOAP Steering Committee meeting

The 2017 edition of the SFOAP Steering Committee (SC) meeting took place in Niamey, Niger on 20-21 April 2017, with the participation of representatives from the five Regional Farmers' Organizations (RFOs), the Pan-African Farmers’ Organization (PAFO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the European Union (EU) and the Swiss Development and Cooperation Agency (SDC).

The objectives of the meeting were to discuss and validate the programme 2016 annual report and 2017 work plan and budget, assess programme issues and constraints, and share programme related lessons learnt and best experiences.

The meeting was opened with a welcome speech by Mr. Djibo Bagna, President of the Réseau des Organisations Paysannes et de Producteurs de l"Afrique de l'Ouest (ROPPA), who stressed the relevance of the contribution provided by the SFOAP Programme to strengthen Farmers’ Organizations (FOs) in terms of institutional capacities, governance and engagement in the context of national policies. Emphasis was put on the importance of the Programme with regard to the empowerment of rural women and youth as well as the access to economic services.

IFAD provided a brief overview of the historical path followed by IFAD, the RFOs and other SFOAP partners from the pilot phase launched in 2009, to today. The partnership was strong though there needs to be a paradigm shift in order to benefit from future opportunities.

An opening statement was also made by the representative of the European Union Delegation in Niger, Mr. Enrique De Loma Ossorio Friend, who stressed the EU commitment in Africa to support smallholder producers at the local, national and regional levels.

Finally, the President of the PAFO, Mr. Abdelmajid Ezzar, highlighted how the diversity of the African continent can be harnessed and transformed into an opportunity to support the development of the agricultural sector and the improvement of food security.

During the first day of the Steering Committee meeting, RFOs presented and discussed activities implemented in 2016 and results achieved. In particular, the Eastern Africa Farmers Federation (EAFF) referred to activities implemented under Component 3 – Provision of economic services, enabling supported organizations to increase production, improve market access and create new business partnerships. In line with the above, the Southern African Confederation of Agricultural Unions (SACAU), shared progresses in terms of economic initiatives by national FOs, with 3 cooperatives established in Namibia (red meat value chain), the commercialization of maize in Madagascar, and the development of business plans and the receipt of a loan by farmers in the piggery sector in Swaziland. The Plateforme Sous-Régionale des organisations Paysannes d'Afrique Centrale (PROPAC) informed about the increase in their membership and on the launch of a platform for sharing and filing documents ( within their network. ROPPA focused their intervention on sharing their progress in terms of Monitoring and Evaluation as well as in terms of the increased capacity of national FOs to mobilize funds, with 300 000 EUR mobilized in two years only. In terms of policy engagement, they further mentioned that 7 of their 13 national members are fully involved in the drafting and implementation of the respective National Agricultural Policies. In Northern Africa, the programme enabled to strengthen FOs internal governance and technical skills and improved integration of FOs into the identified value chains. Finally, the PAFO updated Steering Committee participants on the steps being undertaken for the operationalization of the PAFO Secretariat in Ethiopia as well as on the outcomes from the Board meeting held in Brussels.

Overall, the main focus of the 2017 plan of work will be on the implementation of component 3 related activities, institutional support to members, youth and gender, resource mobilization, the capitalisation of experiences and the collection of data and information on the impact and results of SFOAP activities.

The Steering Committee members unanimously approved the 2016 annual report as well as the 2017 work plan.

During the second day of the meeting, RFOs delivered presentations about their respective case studies with the purpose of sharing successful stories, experiences and best practices achieved in the context of SFOAP implementation. Also, a short session was dedicated to the presentation of the IFAD supported Platform for Agricultural Risk Management (PARM). The SFOAP Steering Committee members welcomed with open arms the potential opportunities of future synergies and partnership to be developed with PARM.

Participants also engaged in discussion and exchange on other issues such as the regional Farmers’ Forum processes, the potential post-SFOAP programme in support of FOs, and the launch of a self-evaluation to be carried out by RFOs and led by the PAFO in order to provide the necessary information and guidance for the initial design of a potential post-SFOAP programme.

Finally, the Steering Committee members agreed that the 2018 SFOAP Steering Committee will be hosted by SACAU in Southern Africa.

To learn more on the event and on SFOAP related activities in the different regions, please read the full report from the meeting (in English) as well as the consolidated SFOAP 2016 annual report and 2017 annual work plan and budget (in English and in French).



from 20/04/2017 to 21/04/2017
Thematic Areas: Access to Services, Capacity Building, Gender, Knowledge Management, Markets and Value chains, Monitoring and Evaluation, Natural resources, Policy Dialogue
Region: PAN Africa