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Mobilizing farmers and producers for rural transformation

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Farmers' and producers' organizations are important institutions that deliver services to their members, facilitate their access to markets, and empower small farmers to engage in policy dialogue. They have a key role to play in ensuring inclusive and sustainable rural transformation at local, national and international levels.

To achieve their full potential farmers' organizations need support. This is why IFAD partners with them. IFAD engages rural producers and their organizations in the design and implementation of our country strategies and projects.

To increase our combined impact, IFAD’s partnerships with farmers' organizations are developed and implemented at different geographical levels, in different ways, and through different instruments.

How we partner

  • At the global level, the Farmers’ Forum is the overall framework of the partnership between IFAD and organizations run by smallholder farmers. Established in 2005, the Forum facilitates a permanent process of consultation between farmers' organizations, IFAD and governments, focusing on rural development and poverty reduction. Moreover, it enables an ongoing, bottom-up dialogue between farmers' organizations from all over the world, IFAD and our Member States. IFAD and farmers’ organizations also work together within other global partnerships, such as the UN International Decade on Family Farming. This involves enhancing farmers’ organizations' development of joint advocacy positions and policy positions on key issues related to sustainable family farming.
  • At the regional level, IFAD supports national and regional networks of farmers' organizations to develop their institutions, economic services to members and policy engagement. Regional programmes include the Support to Farmers' Organizations in Africa Programme and the Medium-term Cooperation Programme with farmers’ organizations in Asia and the Pacific.
  • At the national level, IFAD focuses on enhancing farmers’ organizations' involvement in the design of country strategies (COSOPs) and projects, and in the implementation of IFAD-supported projects
  • In policy platforms, IFAD supports the engagement of farmers’ organizations. We work together to enhance the development of common advocacy positions of farmers’ organizations and their policy standards on key issues in sustainable family farming. Over the past 15 years, IFAD has supported the REAF Mercosur programme that promotes inclusive policy engagement in South America. IFAD’s support to the Eastern Africa Farmers Federation contributed to the development of the East African Community Cooperative Societies Bill, improving regional legislation on cooperatives. The main monitoring tool of the progress of our collaboration with rural producers’ and farmers’ organizations is the Partnerships in Progress report that is prepared by IFAD for each global meeting of the Farmers’ Forum.

Who we partner with


IFAD works with hundreds of farmers’ organizations at the local and national level. They are autonomous membership-based professional organizations, structured on either a commodity or a territorial basis. Their members include smallholders, family farmers and rural producers, including pastoralists, artisanal fishers, landless people and indigenous peoples. And they constitute all forms of producers’ associations, cooperatives, unions and federations.

At the regional level, IFAD partners with networks of farmers’ organizations, such as the Pan African Farmers’ Organization and its members – the Eastern Africa Farmers Federation, Plateforme Régionale des Organisations Paysannes d'Afrique Centrale, Reseaux des Organisations Paysannes et Producteurs Agricoles de l’Afrique de l’Ouest, the Southern African Confederation of Agricultural Unions and Union Maghrébine et Nord Africaine des Agriculteurs. Other key regional partners are the Asian Farmers Association for Sustainable Rural Development and the Confederación de Organizaciones de Productores Familiares del Mercosur in Latin America.

At the global level, our partners include La Via Campesina, the World Farmers’ Organization, the World Forum of Fish Harvesters and Fish Workers, the World Forum of Fisher Peoples and the Intercontinental Network of Organic Farmers Organisations.  

In the last decade, IFAD has cultivated alliances with donors such as the European Union, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation and the Agence Française de Développement to create regional programmes to strengthen networks of farmers’ organizations.

We have also collaborated with AgriCord to provide technical assistance to farmers’ organizations. This partnership has been instrumental in developing the capacities of farmers’ organizations, particularly at local and national levels.

Related news

Rural development experts and private sector leaders to discuss public, private, producer partnerships for smallholders and agribusiness entrepreneurs in Sri Lanka

March 2018 - NEWS
The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the Presidential Secretariat of Sri Lanka will convene a three-day conference starting today to exchange knowledge and experience on creating sustainable and inclusive agribusiness models for smallholders and entrepreneurs in rural areas.

IFAD to provide US$24.3 million to improve integration of family farmers into new value chains in Argentina

March 2017 - NEWS
Improving sustainable integration of small-scale producers into emerging value chains is the aim of a financial agreement signed here today between the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the Government of Argentina.

IFAD and Cambodia to increase smallholder farmers’ incomes by expanding market opportunities

February 2017 - NEWS
The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the Government of Cambodia signed a financial agreement today to fund a rural development project that aims to increase incomes for 75,000 smallholder farming households by expanding commercial agricultural markets and developing links between producers, buyers and service providers.

Related publications

IFAD and Farmers' Organizations - Partnership in progress: 2014-2015

February 2016
Report to the sixth global meeting of the Farmers’ Forum in conjunction with the thirty-ninth session of IFAD’s Governing Council.

Partnership in progress: 2012-2013 – Overview & Conclusions

January 2014

This report is the most comprehensive attempt in IFAD for  taking stock of the different experiences in collaborating with FOs and identifying the emergence of regional trends.

This provides the starting point for scaling-up and broadening successful approaches in other countries and contexts.

The report analyses the modalities of the ongoing partnership over the biennium 2012-2013, highlighting successful stories and achievements within IFAD country programmes and grant portfolio. 

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