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Brussels Briefing 51: Annick Sezibera "Farmers’ Organisations: a social and economic force in a context of chronic instability"


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The next Brussels Development Briefing no. 51 on ”Agriculture as an engine of economic reconstruction and development in fragile countries ” took place on 27 June 2018 from 09h00 to 13h00, ACP Secretariat, Brussels 451 Avenue Georges Henri, 1200 Brussels. This Briefing was organised by the ACP-EU Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA), in collaboration with the European Commission / DEVCO, the ACP Secretariat, and CONCORD.

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Brussels Briefing 51: Annick Sezibera "Farmers’ Organisations: a social and economic force in a context of chronic instability"

  1. 1. Agriculture: a driver for economic reconstruction and development in fragile states The experience of CAPAD and its cooperatives in Burundi By: Annick SEZIBERA CAPAD executive secretary Tel.: (+257) 76 652 176 Email: Skype: sezibera2
  2. 2. OUTLINE I. Presentation of CAPAD II. Successes and major achievements III. Factors of success IV. Opportunities V. Replication and scaling up VI. Challenges and limitations VII. Conclusions
  3. 3. I. PRESENTATION OF CAPAD • Created in 2000 at a time of civil war, which had the following impact: - Loss of productive and working capital - Destruction/looting - Breakdown of trust between communities - Despair of a return to peace - Humanitarian emergency Aid dependence
  4. 4. I. PRESENTATION OF CAPAD (continued) • CAPAD is a national farmers’ organisation that brings together:  117,000 family farm households  111 agricultural cooperatives (cereals, coffee, fruits, vegetables, food crops, patchouli)  72 municipalities (across the whole country) • Mandate:  Community mobilisation around common interests (agricultural and economic activities)  Development of farmer leadership and rural entrepreneurship  Defending social, economic and political rights: social cohesion, changes in national policies and programmes, etc.
  5. 5. 2. INTERVENTION STRATEGIES Agricultural development: storage, promotion of agro- food processing units Agriterra,OxfamNovib, CSA,CCFD,Cordaid,IFDC, BTC,SIDI
  6. 6. II. CAPAD successes and major achievements  Contributing to a return to peace and trust between communities - Social cohesion – farmer leaders: Artisans of peace and social cohesion who have become real community leaders, encouraging others towards the creation of solid and autonomous local structures (clusters then cooperatives) - Facilitating integration and access to land for displaced people and returnees - Mutual assistance and solidarity between producers through the structures created - Development of common strategies to meet community challenges
  7. 7. Construction and consolidation of the farmers’ movement • Key role in the organisation of farming clusters, then cooperatives: 108 cooperatives • Mutual assistance and solidarity through solidarity credit unions • Support to cooperatives in the implementation of social and economic services • Advocacy actions to influence decisions: recognition of farmers’ organisations and cooperative law
  8. 8. Increase in production yields (30–50%)  Support for production: agricultural consultancy, farm management and monitoring  Access to production factors: land, seeds, agricultural inputs, livestock and tools  Training: knowledge management, technical production processes  Access to finance: loans and grants
  9. 9. Creation of permanent jobs and support for economic activities • Development of empowering economic activities and new professions: women and young people • Creation of new jobs: 251 permanent jobs created • Socio-economic integration of over 12,000 returned women and young people • Improvement of living conditions: housing, well-being
  10. 10. Creation of SOCOPA to improve farmers’ incomes • SOCOPA is a cooperative society aimed at maximising added value for agricultural producers through the processing and marketing of surplus agricultural production  Six production sites with modern processing equipment  Eight product ranges placed on the market: corn flour, cassava flour, premium rice, standard rice, chilli sauce, tomato concentrate, ketchup, juice and other liquid products  Two commercial brands (MARAME and Taamu) • 50% of profits in rebates to farmers
  11. 11. III. FACTORS OF SUCCESS • Failure of the public and private sector (financing institutions and traders) to support agriculture and farmers • CAPAD and its cooperatives have provided an alternative that is both social and economic • Political neutrality of farmers’ organisations and their leaders • Caution, non-violent communication and construction of alliances (not everyone is bad)
  12. 12. III. FACTORS OF SUCCESS • Mutual aid and solidarity for social cohesion:  Social dialogue around the origin, prevention and management of community conflicts  Key role of traditional structures and farmer leaders  Solidarity credit unions have been a significant lever for social solidarity and mutual assistance  Women have played an important role  Consultancy, training and economic services for family farmers
  13. 13. IV. OPPORTUNITIES • Disengagement of the state from its pyramid system of supervision and support for agriculture • Common and unifying interests – responses to the real needs of farming communities: land recovery, returning to the hills, peaceful cohabitation, restoring production and generating income • Farmer leaders have been relays and messengers of peace and development • Women farmers, the family pillar but also the first victims of wars, have been more receptive and have become much more involved
  14. 14. IV. OPPORTUNITIES (continued) • Awareness of farmers’ organisations facilitated by voluntary membership, ownership, representativeness and inclusiveness • Neutrality towards peasant leaders: community trust, freedom of expression and lifting taboos • Presence of support structures for FOs (NGOs, international organisations): have delivered technical and financial support for CAPAD and its members • Synergies with other stakeholders (CSOs, religious communities)
  15. 15. V. REPLICATION AND SCALING UP • Rural pyramid structure allows action both at the local level through direct services to members and at national level through advocacy for the improvement of policies and the establishment of an environment conducive to agricultural growth • Farming organisations are spaces for dialogue, conflict prevention and management, but also schools of citizenship, democracy, governance, tolerance and knowledge management
  16. 16. REPLICATION AND SCALING UP (continued) • High-level skills among leaders of farming organisations to inspire others and unite them around common interests, while avoiding political manipulations • A combination of actions are needed, from emergency aid, to boosting agricultural and economic production, prevention of crisis risks, development support, reconstruction of social and economic infrastructures, and actions to guarantee farmers’ incomes
  17. 17. VI. CHALLENGES AND LIMITATIONS • In a situation of war and chronic instability, farming organisations must at all times adapt to this turbulent environment in order to keep meeting the expectations of their members • Human, material and financial resources are limited, and synergies with other stakeholders are therefore essential • Despite a situation of armed conflict, the role of a public interlocutor remains crucial for the restoration of peace and agricultural growth
  18. 18. VII. CONCLUSIONS • The strategies put in place by the CAPAD and its members have enabled the development of actions all along the value chains (upstream and downstream), and the improvement of incomes of member family farmers, in spite of the chronic instability in Burundi • Difficulties: physical insecurity, theft, violence, suspicion, etc. • Strategies: Caution, non-violent communication and permanent internal and external communication