TERMS OF REFERENCE FOR THE POLICY DIALOGUE RELATED TO THE
INTERNATIONAL YEAR OF FAMILY FARMING (IYFF) IN BAMAKO
THEME : BUILDING RESILIENCE TO FEED WEST AFRICA:
PROPOSALS FROM FAMILY FARMERS
Importance of family farming in the world
Out of 2.5 billion of peoples inhabiting in poor countries and directly living on agricultural
and food sectors, 1.5 in the households are composed by small-scale farmers, in most of the
regions worldwide, notably in Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa, it is small-scale farmers who
ensure 80% of the food products supply.
In fish sector, artisanal fisheries contribute to 46% of continental and world marine captures
(this figure reaching 46% in developing countries). According to the estimates, this fisheries
system employs more than 90% of 35 millions of peoples practicing capture fishing
worldwide and ensures the subsistence of 85 million of peoples employed in the associated
activities of processing, distribution and marketing.
The family production also comprises production systems practiced by native peoples.
According to IFAD in its 2012 report, more than 370 millions of peoples define themselves as
native in about 70 countries. Traditional native lands and territories occupy in the vicinity of
80% of the biological diversity across the planet.
The report 2013 from the CSA high-level Group of experts concluded that in China, 200
millions of small farms covering 10% of available farmlands at the world level produce 20%
of the entire foods across the world. This same report underlines that in Brazil, small farmers
only occupy 24.3% of the overall agricultural area, whereas they generate 74% of all the
farming employments and produce 38% of the overall value of production.
Regarding the mobilization and management of natural resources, mostly lands, family
farms including artisanal fisheries and systems of native peoples ensure a sustainable
management of the essential of those resources necessary for the production of food
products in the world.
In Africa, family farming represents the same importance. More than 60% of the production
generate food productions, ensure 65% of employments.
The agricultural sector of the Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS) plays a
vital role in terms of national economies, employment, incomes of rural households, balance
of trade and balance the food security of people and nations. Economically, agriculture
accounts for about 35% of the regional gross domestic product by services (37%). In terms of
employment, the agricultural sector remains the leading provider of workforce. Over 60% of
the workforce in the ECOWAS region are working in this sector despite the low pay of its
effort relative to other sectors of the economy. About 80% of the food needs of the region
are met by regional production.
Family farming, the key form of the farming production, has sometimes been considered as
being the origin of this counter-performance of the farming sector. In fact, this production
system offers the essential of agricultural and agro-food productions that meet food needs
of populations and industries in Africa. Family farming basically ensures a sustainable
management of natural resources, thanks to the rational combination of endogenous and
modern knowledge. It carries in itself for the future the promise of environment conducive
to the development and a strong potential for creating employments thanks to the intensive
use of the family labor. Science-based studies such as those of the two Nobel prizes of
Economy (Sen and Schultz) have demonstrated that small farmers are not only poor but also
technically effective, that’s to say they use very few inputs (capital, land, labor) to get a
maximum of production. Those studies enlighten the driving role of family farming in the
preservation of environment and its ability to produce more with few resources.
Family farming is not the source of the agricultural sector counter-performance in West
Africa is the first increasing region in the world since at least 2010. The major sources of
wealth of the region are: strong performance of the raw materials global prices and good
macro-economic management. Despite this performance, according to the United Nations
Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Africa has for decades been the most dependent
continent in terms of food with a proportion of about 30 % of people who suffer from
hunger and malnutrition. Despite considerable agricultural potential, the majority of African
countries are net food importers. José Graziano da Silva, Director-General of FAO indicated
that the bill for food imports over $ 50 billion annually. The West Africa is the leading
importer of rice area and food imports tend to rise until at least 2020. Besides, studies
conducted by ROPPA in collaboration with REPAD, show that poverty has increased in most
of the West African countries since 2003, apart in some rare countries, like Ghana.
Agricultural productivity has been relatively poor (around 5%) on the period 2010 to 2013.
By referring to this relatively poor performance , policy-makers in the various countries
across the region challenge the incapacity of family farming to ensure food security and
creation of employments, this despite its importance and potential. Wrongly, many policy-
makers refuse to believe in the future and in the capacity of family farming and confine it in
a backward-looking and risky vision of agriculture and Africa. Despite the threats it poses to
food security and biodiversity, African policy makers still tend to focus on the industrial and
commercial agriculture as the ultimate solution to the problem of hunger and
underdevelopment in the name of its supposed productive efficiency which has not been
proved scientifically. Policymakers have always given priority to urban and other sectors of
the economy at the detriment of agriculture, creating an urban bias. This fact is amply
demonstrated by the study of Krueger, Schiff and Valdes in 1991 on behalf of the World
The International Year is so an opportunity to question the sharing of development costs
across sectors and higher taxation of the agricultural sector in favor of other sectors. This is
actually an opportunity to revisit the former order and build a new social contract on
strategic options for the development of agriculture.
Reponses of policies to face the challenge of food security and creation of agricultural
The recourse to agribusiness to feed populations
The governments’ responses to the supposed incapacity of family farming to feed Africa
have been the recourse to agribusiness, with a massive land-grabbing because small-scale
farmers are not competitive. 62% of large-scale international transfers of lands are done in
Africa. Africa has about 600 millions ha of non-farmed farmlands, such as 60% of the world
total. Such a strategy breaks the social pact by confining farmers in the vulnerability and
rural exodus, hence some key issues of this Conference, what will become African farmers if
for instance four agri-industries provide all the food of our countries? Which sustainable
social contract which result in that?
Beyond the above issues, it is appropriate to give a concrete response to the legitimate
concerns of the people of our region. Does the family farmers working in the difficult
conditions taking less than 30% of existing technologies which 40% of production is lost due
to lack of adequate storage can feed the West Africa to which Nigeria alone will
approximately become 460 million people in 2050? What are the steps to be taken so that
the regional agricultural market to help feed people? Certainly, a proportion of 85% of the
food in the world is still produced and consumed locally and a FAO study in 2005 shows that
this trend draws heavily regionally. But one must ask how to deal with these specific needs
in the long term? How long will it take for decision makers to understand this reality?
What is in question in the difficulties of African family farmers that we experience today is
not fundamentally related to its own characteristics, but to inconsistent and incoherent
agricultural policies. Those policies have not managed to set up investments, appropriate
tools and measures to ensure a modernization and intensification of production. Some
conditions have not been set up to foster an access of local productions to lucrative markets,
a community preference, and decent incomes to farmers enabling them to carry out a self-
investment. Family farming is not accompanied by insurance mechanisms and minimization
of risks and a land tenure law securing land use and allowing investment and innovation,
innovative fundings and farming credit institutions , regulation of markets helping a stability
of prices, a minimization of risks and a decent remuneration of the agricultural labor.
A business environment targeting only agri-businessmen to the detriment of the
In our countries, tax exemptions to attract agri-businessmen for most of them cost at least
100 billion to the budget of each of our countries. What do our countries do to encourage
small-scale farmers, first investors of agriculture in our countries?
Strategies of investments in our countries enable to spark the following questions:
• Investing in which production systems?
• For which products ?
• For which markets?
• For the benefit of whom?
If the convergence around the strengthening of investments in agriculture is almost
acquired, important divergences remain and persist regarding the type of agriculture to
promote to attain food security, the debate is still being done mostly about policy
orientations dealing with investment in family farming or in agri-business.
A global recognition of family farming in a context of controversy on its added value in a
While debates are being pursued, the relevance of family farming is still a reality recognized
at the international level. The 66th
United Nations session declared 2014, International Year
of Family Farming. The United Nations general assembly, that dedicated the year 2014 to
family farming, offers the world a unique opportunity to recognize the contribution and
dignity of men and women, but also the place occupied and the role played at the world
level by family farming for food sovereignty, economic development, creation of
employments and distribution of incomes, management of natural resources and
construction of peace. This international recognition is doubly shared by Africa, since African
Union has also decreed 2014 as year of agriculture and food security.
It is time now to wonder about the valued addition of family farming in a world where agri-
businessmen and multinational companies dominate food market with an increased interest
for the production of this one. In such a context, it is urgent to wonder about the family
farming resistance in this globalized world where reduction in drivers’ costs and scale
economies are the rule to survive. Many analysts predict the end of family farming and its
incapacity to resist in such a world. The conference contributes to provide guidance on
possible options offered to agriculture by adapting to carry on playing its role.
II. GENERAL OBJECTIVE
The general objective of this conference is to contribute to promote a resilient agriculture in
West Africa to feed populations, within the framework of the achievement of PAU and
ECOWAP, this through policies and programs really ensuring the strengthening and
development of family farms.
Formulating for policy-makers proposals aiming at addressing the challenges of
family farms related to land tenure, funding of family farming, climate change,
processing and storage of food products, regional and international market ;
Identifying approaches and mechanisms enabling a better taking in charge of women
and youth concerns in the policies and programmes of agricultural development ;
Exchanging on family farms innovations and farmers’ organizations bringing concrete
solutions to concrete issues related to the development of value chains and funding
of agriculture ;
Creating an alliance to accompany the agenda of the Family Farming modernization.
A conference registered in a strategic vision
The policy dialogue is a tradition of ROPPA that, since its inception has developed an
expertise. Since 2012, ROPPA has developed a framework for the thematic multi-actors
dialogue to be used as reference framework to its advocacy but also to mobilize a set of
actors around an important issue for the region in view with better understanding the
positions of everybody and jointly developing an alliance to address the region’s challenges.
For ROPPA, this event comes within a global framework instituted by the network for a
permanent dialogue with the various actors. Therefore, in 2010, ROPPA developed a
permanent framework of policy dialogue with an international conference on climate
changes in Niamey (under the presidency of the Prime Minister of Niger) and a conference
on the ten years of Maputo in Monrovia (under the presidency of the vice-President of
Within the framework of the IYFF, the regional policy dialogue will take place in Bamako in
September 2014 under the presidency of the highest authorities of Mali.
The Bamako conference, finishing of a process
As part of the preparation, ROPPA initiated several meetings and events to give visibility to
the organization of the Bamako conference on IYFF. While there has been:
An initial meeting with the President of the ECOWAS Commission who assured
ROPPA to ECOWAS support in organizing IYFF.
On the sidelines of the ministerial meeting of ECOWAS, a second hearing was given
to ROPPA by the President of the ECOWAS Commission stated the interest of the
Commission to participate in the ROPPA regional conference multistakeholders in
Bamako, in September 2014.
A position paper for an advocacy to make 2014 International Year of Family Farming,
a year of recognition of the contribution of the African peasantry and a year of
renovation of agricultural policies and international cooperation, was developed and
distributed to the Governments of ECOWAS member countries and France during the
The official launch of IYFF by ROPPA held in Ouagadougou with the presence of the
Commissioner of UEMOA, ECOWAS, the CILSS, the representative of the Minister for
Agriculture and Food Security of Burkina Faso . The authorities have renewed their
commitments to support ROPPA to make this recognition of family farming a reality
in the field of food security and the fight against poverty. The authorities have yet
confirmed their support to the organization of the Bamako event;
Following the official launch of the IYFF by ROPPA; a steering committee composed
of sub-regional institutions, networks of farmers and agro-pastoralists, regional
organizations, civil society and representatives of multilateral cooperation was
Also as part of the preparations for the conference in Bamako, ROPPA launched a study. This
study, in addition to the experiences of national platforms aims to document the
contribution of family farms in food sovereignty, on the progress and challenges of family
farms ROPPA also want to promote studies conducted as part of the preparation for the
meeting of Monrovia on the Maputo commitments and other work carried out by national
platforms to feed discussions and debates during the conference.
Regionally, the strategy is to establish synergies with the activities of networks of farmers'
organizations in Africa as part of the PAFO. And 4 other networks will be invited to Bamako
to share the results of their actions and contribute to discussions in West Africa. The
meeting in Malawi on IYFF under the PAFO is also a space to enhance the results of work and
reporting of African farmers' organizations in West and for advocacy with relevant African
institutions (AU, NEPAD ...).
Regarding the course of the conference, the works will be therefore structured:
Organizations of thematic discussions:
It is planned the organization of panels on following themes:
Panel 1: Place and role of family farming in the West African economy.
It is analyzing the real place of agriculture, what does it bring in employment, provision of
food, social and economic balance across the region. This panel will call on Governments,
research, IFAD, FAO, CTA, AFDI, ILRI, APESS, RBM, ECOAWS/WAEMU, INADES-Formation.
Regarding land-grabbing, water, climate changes, funding, regional market, and value chain,
this panel will call on ECOWAS, WAEMU, LPI, CORAF, CCAS, AGRA, CGIAR, USAID, SOS Faim,
AAFEX, Bordless Alliance, and RBM.
Panel 2: Contribution of women in the performance of family farms
Increasing the performance of family farming with the contribution of women: this panel will
gather ONU-Femmes, WILDAF, AFAO, President of ROPPA Women College, APESS and RBM
Panel 3 : Future of family farming: proposal from the regional youth college
Maintaining youth in family farming: Talking about challenges and if possible implement the
regional youth college. The participants in panels: ROPPA youth, IFAD, AFDI, Fondation de
France, WB, APESS, RBM.
Panel 4 : Capitalization on changes made by FOs
This panel deals with changes in the area of agricultural guidance, credit, value chains,
sucess stories of family farming. It will gather ASPRODEB, AAFEX, AFRACA, CTA, APESS, RBM,
and Fondation de France/CFSI.
Panel 5: Building resilience, condition to feed West Africa, creating an alliance for a family
farming processing agenda
This panel is about decisive drivers of a resilient agriculture. It will gather ECOWAS, CILSS,
CTA, WAEMU, APESS, RBM, FAO, IFAD, WB, Hub Rural, donors. Proposing an alliance for the
monitoring of the family farming processing agenda
The “Mali day”
Half a day will be dedicated to Mali. It will revisit the Malian agricultural policy and the
challenges with the situation of conflict, the success stories and the identification areas of
intervention by mobilizing both the national and international community on the country's
priorities. This day is also a day of solidarity and the contribution of ROPPA and the other
partners in the post-conflict reconstruction of Mali.
- Public opinion is aware on the place, the roles and the challenges on
- Success stories are identified to contribute to help feed West Africa ;
- Proposals for more inclusive agricultural and rural policies ;
- Creation of an alliance to track agenda on family farming processing.
DATE AND VENUE
The Conference will take place from 09 to 11 September 2014 in Bamako, Mali.