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Farmer organizations

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 work 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, they're better positioned to improve their food security and move out of poverty. Other players in food systems benefit too.

Collaboration from the ground up

Organizations run by smallholder producers are not simply IFAD project beneficiaries – they’re strategic partners. Not only do they deliver services to their members and speak on their behalf, but also key actors in social and policy dialogue at the local, national and international levels.

IFAD recognises this central role of farmers’ organizations in smallholder development. To fulfil this role, they also need specific attention and support to bolster their effectiveness and sustainability. That’s why we are supporting them to build their capacity and strengthen their institutions to perform.

IFAD involves rural producers and their organizations in the design and implementation of strategies and the projects we support. We also help broker innovative public-private-producer partnerships that bring famers' 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 rural farmers' organizations from all over the world, IFAD and our Member States. It serves as an operational tool to orientate our operations and to foster partnerships between IFAD and farmers’ organizations.

Farmers' organizations collaborate with IFAD through the design and implementation of IFAD country strategies and investment projects. IFAD also channels funds to directly support their initiatives. Over the last decade, direct support has been organized at regional level through large grant programmes co-financed and in partnership with like-minded donors: Support to Farmers' Organizations in Africa Programme and the Medium-term Cooperation Programme with farmers’ organizations in Asia and the Pacific. Other operational partnerships support the engagement of farmers’ organizations in policy platforms. Examples include the REAF Mercosur programme in Latin America and support to the Eastern Africa Farmers Federation to draft and generate approval for the East African Community Cooperative Societies Bill to improve regional legislation on cooperatives. These partnerships in turn enhance the effectiveness of IFAD-funded programmes. Tellingly, the partnership between IFAD and farmers’ organizations today is part of the modus operandi of our work.



Twenty years on from the first Farmers’ Forum, four farming leaders weigh in

We asked four farmers’ organization leaders from around the world about current challenges, new developments and their hopes for the future at the eighth global meeting of the Famers’ Forum.



Democratic Republic of the Congo

North Kivu Agriculture Sector Support Project (PASA-NK)


Support to Farmers’ Professional Organizations and Agricultural Services Project


The Project for Restoration of Livelihoods in the Northern Region



Antonella Cianciotta

Technical Specialist, Farmers' Organizations in Africa, Caribbean and Pacific (FO4ACP)

[email protected]

Alice Van Der Elstraeten

KM and M&E Analyst, Farmers' Organizations in Africa, Caribbean and Pacific (FO4ACP)

[email protected]

Stories and news

Stories and news

“Cashroots” movement builds community resilience in the Solomon Islands

oktober 2020 - STORY

Simon Chottu works hard and plays hard. An events manager by trade, he’s spent the last few years hosting hip-hop parties and organizing music events and competitions across the South Pacific. 

A year in review: Nurturing resilient rural communities in a time of change

december 2020 - STORY
2020 has been a tumultuous year. The COVID-19 pandemic has affected everyone across the world – and meanwhile, the other challenges faced by rural people across the globe haven’t gone away. 

Against the backdrop of conflict and COVID-19, IFAD is helping farmers grow in Yemen

juni 2022 - STORY

Years of conflict in Yemen have taken their toll – and among all of the devastation that’s been wrought, the country’s agricultural sector is one of the hardest hit. Now, an IFAD-supported initiative is helping Yemeni farmers get back on their feet.

Related publications

Related publications

Access to Finance for Farmers’ Organizations: Evidence from a multi-country survey

april 2023

This report offers new evidence to inform the design of suitable and timely financial products for farmer organizations, based on a survey of 220 farmers’ organizations in West Africa and Asia and the Pacific.

Multiple roles of farmers’ and producers’ organizations in responding to the Covid-19 crisis

mei 2022

Faced with a triple health, economic, and social crisis during the COVID-19 pandemic, Farmers’ Organizations (FOs) have been called on by members and partners to play a variety of roles in response to the crisis.

Capitalisation champs école paysans. Action collective, auto-organisation et, rôle des organisations paysannes dans la mise à échelle et l’institutionnalisation des CEP

februari 2022

L’approche Champ École Paysan (CEP) est adoptée dans la grande majorité des projets financés par le FIDA en Afrique subsaharienne. À travers cette capitalisation, il s’agit d’analyser dans quelle mesure l’approche CEP a permis l’émergence de processus collectifs, organisationnels et d’autonomisation des paysans en réponse aux problèmes qui se posaient à eux.