Family farming contributes 80% of food production and employs between 60% and 70% of the population in Africa. However, it is faced with increasing challenges, including climate change, an aging labour force, market volatility, and low incentives to small holder farmers. The family production model is marginalised in favour of large-scale commercial farming which provides higher returns for private investors. However, small-scale farming continues to produce the majority of the world’s food and is a major investor in the agricultural sector and the foundation of the local business and economic structure of Africa’s rural areas.
AT ILC, WE JOINTLY COMMIT TO...
"We position family farming on the political agenda at the national, regional and continental levels."
The ILC SMALL-SCALE FARMING INITIATIVE
Using cross-national platforms, structured as regional mechanisms, International Land Coalition Africa members engage with each other to advance change at cross-country levels, developing partnerships and common strategies on one or more of its 10 Commitments, which focus on specific themes and aspects of land governance. These initiatives involve members across countries and complement and link to existing International Land Coalition national platforms.
One of the Commitments focus on Family Farming and works to ensure equitable land distribution and public investment that supports small-scale farming systems. It guarantees redistributive agrarian reforms that counter excessive land concentration, provide for secure and equitable use and control of land, and allocate appropriate land to landless rural producers and urban residents, while supporting smallholders as investors and producers.
International Land Coalition Africa’s Family Farming process began in 2017 at the International Land Coalition Africa Annual General Assembly in Yaounde, Cameroon. International Land Coalition Africa members identified strong family farming systems as one of its core areas of focus. In 2018, Network of Farmers’ and Producers’ Organizations of West Africa was appointed as host of the cross-national Initiative and a first action plan entitled “Support for the transformation of family farms in West and Central Africa by strengthening their land tenure security as part of political reforms” was developed.
In 2019, in Kigali, Rwanda, during a conference by Pan-African Confederation of Farmers’ Organisation, the Initiative’s members repurposed their commitment to family farming by developing a new strategy and securing new members from other continental and regional farmers networks.
Improve the participation of farmers’ organisations in land reform processes, ensuring fair and responsible investments for better living conditions for family farmers. Position family farming on the political agenda at the national, regional, and continental levels.
OUR THREE-FOLD ACTION
- Build alliances with other initiatives focused on family farming, especially the UN Decade of Family Farming
- Strengthen continental coordination between networks of farmer organisations by reinforcing members’ organisational and managerial capacities
- Strengthen capacities of country leaders and journalists to promote knowledge and awareness of family farming at both practice and policy level.
In 2019 after a study commissioned by the Initiative, ground-breaking lessons were delivered on how to maximise the impact of ongoing land reform processes in 15 countries across West and Central Africa. Fifty farmer leaders were trained on how to use dialogic techniques and advocacy to negotiate access to land for farmers. The training empowered farmer unions on the use of multi-stakeholder platforms across Cameroon and Togo to engage governments and local authorities on land rights cases for family farmers.
Later that year, the results of the study informed the regional action plan on the UN Decade of Family Farming for Central Africa, developed in collaboration with the Economic Community of Central African States and Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa.
Coordinated by Pan African Confederation of Farmers’ Organisation (PAFO), the Initiative includes International Land Coalition members such as: Southern African Confederation of Agricultural Unions, Eastern Africa Farmers Federation, Network of Farmers’ and Producers’ Organizations (ROPPA), Plateforme Régionale des Organisations Paysannes d'afrique Centrale (PROPAC) and Maghrebian and North African Farmers Union (UMNAGRI).