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CTA. 2002. Getting organised. Spore 97. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/46435
Internet URL: http://spore.cta.int/images/stories/pdf/old/spore97.pdf
One of the most notable changes to the rural landscape of late has been the growth of farmers organisations and associations. At the local level, they have replaced or complemented the work of extension bodies, marketing boards and some...
One of the most notable changes to the rural landscape of late has been the growth of farmers organisations and associations. At the local level, they have replaced or complemented the work of extension bodies, marketing boards and some cooperatives, with tasks ranging from advice, financial organisation and marketing to representation. Nationally and globally, their federations have taken their place in organs of consultation and decision, from National Assemblies and Senates to the General Assembly of the United Nations. Not always with complete success: 'We get invited, we get listened to, but do we get heard?' is how one delegate put it at CTA s December 2001 seminar in Douala, Cameroon, which focussed on so-called umbrella, or Apex farmers , organisations, and their strategies of information and communication. Their styles of organisation vary; sometimes they are formally rigid as legal federations; others are federal in nature but loose networks in name; some are self-appointed NGOs who have earned their representativity through hard work, others have, since the outset, been profoundly democratic and transparent. Their special position viz-a-viz their members gives them a special responsibility in communication. They are key points in a two-way, or even many-way, flow of information. They can translate, often literally, information; pass it on to other networks, or collect it from them; digest it and repackage it for members, or the outside world. Whether the content be on cultivation or storage techniques, or inputs, finance, marketing or training, their role is to constantly match supply and demand. For one intense, and intensely convivial, week, more than sixty delegates from umbrella organisations all over Africa and development partners exchanged experiences and aspirations, and drew plans to grow further together. Amongst their priorities: a raft of capacity building measures in publishing, the logistics of communication including the Internet, and rural radio. The world will be seeing, reading and hearing a lot more of them.