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Resources and bargaining power for rural producers

Small family farms make up 85 per cent of all farms worldwide, and the people who live on them constitute the majority of the rural poor. To mitigate the challenges that come with working in isolation − and to increase profitability and productivity − these smallholders form organizations.

When smallholders and other resource-poor agricultural producers organize, they’re better positioned to improve their food security and move out of poverty.

Working together, it becomes easier to access farming inputs such as seeds, plant material, water, fertilizers and pesticides, and to aggregate produce to reach larger markets. Farmers are then able to reduce costs and improve their bargaining power. And when farmers thrive, other players in food systems also benefit.

Collaboration from the ground up

Organizations run by smallholder producers are not simply IFAD project beneficiaries – they’re strategic partners. Producer organizations are important institutions that deliver services to their members and speak on their behalf. They’re key actors in social and policy dialogue at the local, national and international levels.

IFAD involves rural producers and their organizations in the design and implementation of our strategies and the projects we support. We also help broker innovative public-private-producer partnerships that bring producer organizations and private sector operators together to ensure public-private collaborations are also benefiting small producers.

Consultation and dialogue for inclusive development

The Farmers’ Forum is the overall framework of the partnership between IFAD and organizations run by smallholder farmers. The Forum facilitates a permanent process of consultation between these producer organizations, IFAD and governments, focusing on rural development and poverty reduction. At the global level, the Farmers’ Forum was established in 2005, and facilitates an ongoing, bottom-up dialogue between producer organizations from all over the world, IFAD and our Member States.

Since its launch, the Farmers’ Forum has been a privileged platform where rural producer organizations have expressed clear concerns, requests and recommendations to improve the effectiveness of IFAD-funded projects.

Producer organizations need specific attention and support to bolster their effectiveness and sustainability. That’s why we also support them through regional grants and programmes that strengthen their capacity building efforts and institutional development.


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25 de septiembre de 2015 – El deseo de dar una educación a sus hijos fue lo que impulsó a Ana Sofía Amaya a poner en marcha su propia granja agrícola.




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Related publications

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

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

Support to Farmers’Organizations in Africa Programme (SFOAP) - Main Phase 2013-2017

junio 2013

This brief paper presents the main phase of SFOAP (2013-2015). 

During this period the Programme will help African FOs to evolve into more stable, performing and accountable organizations that effectively represent their members and advise them on farming enterprises. 


How to do note: Engaging with farmers’ organizations for more effective smallholder development

octubre 2017
​Smallholder farmers use different strategies to improve their market presence and to capture more value added in the agricultural sector. These strategies include the creation of cooperatives and other farmers’ organizations (FOs). FOs exist today in all countries and in most rural areas, although at different levels of development and capacity. At the national or supranational levels, these organizations are more and more involved in policy dialogue, where they can influence the design and implementation of agricultural public policies and programmes. Also, they can be significant economic players, providing a wide range of key economic services to their members to support profitable engagement with markets, thus contributing to sustained growth and to tackling the challenge of reducing rural poverty.

Contact us

For questions please contact Jean-Philippe Audinet,

Lead Technical Specialist, Producers Organizations and Rural Development

+39 0654592305,