Strengthening Farmer Organizations
African farmers’ organizations (FOs) operate in a changing development landscape that presents new opportunities and challenges for the commercialization of smallholders’ products. For smallholder farmers, the new opportunities lie in the potential for them to maximize their gains in lucrative agricultural value chains. However, these prospects depend on their ability to identify emerging opportunities and to meet the greater competitive requirements. FOs have attempted to take on some of these requirements by serving as aggregation mechanisms for smallholders and as service providers for their members. Although in some instances they have made significant progress, there are still some major gaps and challenges. To strengthen the capacity of FOs, the Farmer Organization Support Centre in Africa (FOSCA) was established by Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF).
FOSCA sought to develop the managerial, organizational and technical capacity of FOs by linking them with service providers that focus on demand-driven and income enhancing services. FOSCA contributed to AGRA’s overall vision of increasing smallholders’ incomes and livelihoods through effective FOs capable of delivering on the needs of their members.