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Theme One

Inclusion is seen as crucial to the new agenda for African agriculture. Governments, donors, farmer organisations, and NGOs, must consider the particular issues surrounding small-scale farmer and issues of equity. An equitable Green Revolution requires an increased ability to facilitate inclusive approaches in which farmers, especially the small-holder, women and the poor, can access skills training in organisational, business management, policy, advocacy and impact monitoring.

Contributions on this theme should revolve around concrete actions – indicating who the key actors are - to address the following questions:

  • Which of the recommendations and actions set forth in the Conference Report best achieve the goal of amplifying farmers’ voices in policy debates and decision-making processes?
  • How can we ensure that measurable targets are set for gender and equity?
  • How can we build capacity of grassroots organisations for basic skills (e.g., organisations and business skills) and leadership (to influence policy and negotiations)?
  • How do we strengthen horizontal and vertical linkages and partnerships/networks with other organisations?
  • And how can we increase access to resources and services for small-scale farmers and marginalized groups?
  • What investments are needed in governance systems and accountability mechanisms to help farmers' organisations become more effective in informing and influencing public and private policy processes?

Pedro Sanchez

The Millennium Villages Project (MVP) is a community-based approach to achieving the MDGs. Many rural development programs have hindered their potential for success because local stakeholders did not participate adequately in the development process. A community-based approach is therefore essential for the success and sustainability of the MVP. A community-based approach is embodied in the established and known principles of participation, social and gender inclusion, equity, and local stakeholders’ ownership of the decision-making and development process.

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Toyin Kolawole

Clearly, development is about people. All efforts geared towards realising the potential of human personality are, therefore, encapsulated in one word: Development. Not until knowledge producers/researchers begin to reflect upon what their intentions are, it might be difficult to achieve any meaningful human progress. The African Green Revolution initiative could prove to be a significant platform for this after all. Perhaps, we need to probe ourselves and ask what on earth has become of the sub-Saharan African smallholder farmer in spite of all the scientific breakthroughs [in agricultural production] that have been achieved in the past by both international and national research centres. Perhaps, we need to ask what has been happening to agricultural productivity in Africa for the past decades. Perhaps, we need to find out where we have missed the point in bringing about food security in sub-Saharan Africa despite all the relatively huge investments in agricultural research over the years.

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Steven Were Omamo

Question: Which of the recommendations and actions set forth in the Conference Report best achieve the goal of amplifying farmers' voices in policy debates and decision-making processes?

While most of the recommendations and actions set forth could promote farmers’ voices in policy debate, the following recommendations are especially relevant:

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Ricardo Ramirez

Only the well organized, powerful farmers with good market linkages have thus far been able to make their voices heard to the extent that policies and programs are adapted to their needs. For the rest, intermediary individuals or organizations often provide the platform to enable their concerns to be heard.

If these "mediating" organizations have status in policy or research circles, then the voices may have an impact in the form of redirected programs or policies.

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