Giving Family Farmers a Bigger Voice and a Bigger Impact

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Senegal, says Moussa Faye of Action Aid Senegal, is the “epicenter of the farmers movement in Africa.”  During the 1970s “rebel” farmers groups organized opposition to state owned cooperatives, starting their own autonomous movement of farmers in Northern Senegal. Eventually, their efforts led to the organization of the Senegalese Federation of NGOs (FONGs), which represents 32 farmers associations all over Senegal.  In addition to crop farmers, the group now represents fishers, agricultural workers, and pastoralists.

FONG’s model has been replicated in Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Gambia, Guinea, and Niger, helping give farmers all over Western Africa a bigger voice and a bigger impact. FONG is the biggest platform for farmers in the country—representing thousands of people. As a result, the group is able to engage the government on different policy issues, including support for securing land, extension, marketing, and the availability of agricultural inputs. “Family farming,” says Moussa Faye of Action Aid, “is central” to Senegal and FONG as a group is able to advocate for changes that support small farmers.

FONG’s model has been replicated in Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Gambia, Guinea, and Niger, helping give farmers all over Western Africa a bigger voice and a bigger impact.

Bernard Pollack
Bernard Pollack, an expert on local labor movements and communications, is currently traveling across the continent of Africa with his partner Danielle Nierenberg BorderJumpers.org, meeting with farmers, community organizers, labor activists/leaders, non-governmental organization (NGOs), the funding and donor communities, and others.

His travel writing from Africa has recently been featured in the Montreal Gazette, the NC News Observer, the Omaha World-Herald, and the Des Moines Register.

He holds an M.A. in Political Management from The George Washington University School of Political Management and a B.A. from the Elliot School of International Affairs at George Washington University.
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