Role of farmers’ organizations in agricultural transformation in Africa: overview of continental, regional, and selected national level organizations

This study analyzes the critical role played by farmers’ organizations (FOs) in transforming agriculture in Africa. Specifically, it provides an overview of the state of continental and regional FOs in Africa. It also uses three-country (Senegal, Uganda and Zambia) case studies to discuss the structure, functioning, objectives, and financing of the FOs in these selected countries. Findings show that the FOs in the three case study countries are more or less well-structured. The national-level (umbrella) FOs are linked to the local-level substructures. However, membership in these FOs is voluntary and a sizeable majority of small-scale producers is yet to be part of the organized FOs. The umbrella organizations represent just about 2.5 million, 2 million, and 550,000 (equivalent to about 30%, 10.9% and 6.4%) small-scale farmers in Senegal, Uganda, and Zambia, respectively. Evidence from the continental, regional and the three country case studies suggests that many FOs face capacity and financial constraints. Nearly all FOs are dependent on external resources.