Convinced of the necessity of an agroecological transition in West African agriculture and keen to support farmers’ organisations that are leading this transition, Jafowa has defined its mission, vision and governance principles to support farmers’ organisations through its calls for proposals.
Agroecological transition in West Africa
Over the last decade, several leading analyses on agricultural production and consumption have been published, which all arrive to a similar conclusion: the current agricultural production and consumption system urgently needs to change.
Despite the boost in agricultural production over the past decade, hunger is still prevalent. The current production and consumption system has caused several environmental problems such as soil erosion, pollution, an increase of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and loss of (agro) biodiversity. Nutrition and health have also been negatively impacted: with the industrialisation of production systems and the concentration and mass production of food have led to a substantial decrease of the global biodiversity and a lower dietary diversity. There are also unfavourable national and international financial and trade policies that result in a retreat from farming in developing countries with large numbers of predominantly young people forced to migrate to cities.
By 2050, Africa will be the most populated continent with one fourth of the world‘s population. During the same period, even if more than 65% of the population will live in urban areas, projections show that the rural population will also continue to grow while remaining mainly women. Other challenges emerge for West Africa in particular, where women and girls represent more than 2/3 of the most vulnerable and poorest urban and rural populations and are confronted with discrimination, access to education, to land, and means for their own personal and economic development.
This is why addressing agricultural production, consumption and nutrition by supporting approaches to change in this region of the world is both timely and critical.
Farmers’ organisations (FOs) have a critical role to play in this context.
They are the ones who can achieve concrete improvements on the ground by providing services to farmers and by supporting the development of local food systems that ensure fair prices for producers and can answer to economic, social and environmental challenges. They are also the ones who can bring a change at a national and regional level through their advocacy work and cooperation with their local and national authorities. At the same time, they are facing challenges in taking on this role fully, reinforcing their capacities and working together. Local food systems, transition towards agroecological practices and gender approaches, are all necessities and opportunities for FOs to fulfill their potential.
JAFOWA proposes local and regional policies, promotes ecological solutions and enables the leadership of women and youth.
The Programme believes that Farmers’ Organisations, which are inclusive of young men and women and which are well-networked and connected with other stakeholders at all levels, and can promote sustainable growth of the family farming sector in West Africa.
To this end, JAFOWA supports innovation and knowledge sharing to improve agroecological production and marketing, as well as the provision of services to farmers. JAWFOA also supports farmers in their advocacy efforts to create a policy environment in favour of agroecology.
More generally, the programme supports Farmers’ Organisations through grant making, knowledge sharing and capacity development, with an initial focus on Burkina Faso, Ghana and Senegal.
JAFOWA aligns with the IPES-Food definition on agroecology that has been adopted by the Alliance for Agroecology in West Africa (3AO):
Agroecology is not a niche for small-scale artisanal farmers in any given sector, nor is it a label to be attained on the basis of specific practices. It is a universal logic for redesigning agricultural systems in ways that maximize biodiversity and stimulate interactions between different plants and species, as part of a holistic strategy to build long-term fertility, healthy agro-ecosystems and secure livelihoods.
JAFOWA takes part to the political agenda in West Africa where the agro-ecological transition is increasingly under the responsibility of Farmers’ Organisations, their international umbrella such as the Network of Farmers’ Organizations and Agricultural Producers of West Africa (ROPPA), NGOs and social movements, research institutes/Universities, private actors, international agencies and public authorities.
JAFOWA contributes to the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals and their commitments to achieving an agro-ecology.
JAFOWA is an initiative of Fondation de France (France), Compagnia di San Paolo (Italy), Fondazione Cariplo (Italy) and Foundation for a Just Society (USA), operated by the Network of European Foundations (Belgium).
The Programme is chaired by the Fondation de France, run by a Steering Committee and advised by an Advisory Committee.
Laurent Grolleau is the Programme Manager.
The Steering Committee (SC) is composed of representatives of the partners Foundations:
- Bérengère Quincy, Chair of the SC and volonteer at Fondation de France
- Cristina Toscano, Fondazione Cariplo
- Ilaria Caramia, Compagnia di San Paolo
- Karine Meaux, Fondation de France
- Rosalie Niezen and Rebecca Reeves, Fondation for a Just Society
JAFOWA Advisory Committee is composed of key resource persons, expert in the Programme scope:
- Patrick Deegbe, entrepreneur, specialist in organic and fair trade products (Ghana)
- Mame Cissé Diop, from ROPROCAS Farmer Organisation (Senegal)
- Martine François, specialist in sustainable agriculture and nutrition, GRET (France)
- Olivia Hema, Association Munyu des Femmes Farmers’ Organisation (Burkina Faso)
- Sarah Hobson, Specialist in Rural Women’s Rights & Resources in West Africa (USA)
- Jean Aimé Kitinga, specialist in agroecology, association Terre et Humanisme (Burkina Faso)
- Ousseini Ouedraogo, Chair of the ROPPA, Network of Farmers’ Organizations and Agricultural Producers of West Africa (Burkina Faso)
- Claire Quenum, specialist in Human Rights, Women’s Rights, pan-African networks (Togo)
- Henri Rouillé d’Orfeuil, specialist in rural development (France)
JAFOWA Calls for proposals
2019 Call for proposals: “Supporting and accompanying Farmers’ Organisations in agroecological transition” in Burkina Faso and Senegal.
2016 Call for proposals: “Reinforcing provision of sustainable services for small-scale rural entrepreneurs” in Burkina Faso, Senegal and Ghana.