Regional Fund for the Financing of Family Farms and Farmers’ Organisations in West Africa
ROPPA (Réseau des Organisations Paysannes et des Producteurs Agricoles de l’Afrique de l’Ouest) is a regional initiative from farmers’ organisations and agricultural producers in 13 West African countries. Approximately 1 million farmers benefit from the activities of ROPPA. Founded in 2000, ROPPA represents the interests of its members, support their members with training and information, and is involved in the implementation of agricultural and rural development programs.
A previous study has shown that existing national and regional agricultural funding institutions, although they have funded quite a lot of projects and programs, have achieved only limited impact at the level of the small family farming enterprise. There is an urgent need to develop new funding instruments that also reach out to small family farmers, women and youth in order to promote agricultural development in West Africa. Appropriate funding for new technologies, value chain development, production factors, etc will contribute to the modernisation of current family farms and help them to respond more effectively to market demands. Several national and regional agricultural funds have been put in place (PAU, ECOWAP/PDDAA), but without taking into account the farmers’ voice in the creation and the governance of the funds.
Through the ESFIM-study ROPPA collected sufficient relevant data on how the existing national and regional funds, the way they are actually conceived, would be able to foster the modernization of the family farms and respond to their ambition to be better integrated in the markets in order to ‘feed the African towns’. The difficulties national and regional funds for agricultural finance face came to the surface by the outcomes of the research, i.e. the demand for agricultural finance is not well-structured and there is an incoherent dialogue between supply and demand.
The recommendations of the study have been used by ROPPA to dialogue and lobby with the policy makers and the people in charge of the funding institutions so as to incite for innovative strategies and mechanisms that help to realize this ambition.