Farmer Focused Transformation reflection
Written by James Sablerolles and Esmee van Schuppen
Halfway through phase 1
2023 is a critical year in the field of sustainable development because it marks the halfway point in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It is a time of reflection, critical review, and a reality check. Despite global efforts, the latest data paints a concerning picture, with 30% of the SDG targets showing no progression, or even regression below the 2015 baseline. Consider, for example, SDG 2, which aspires to achieve Zero Hunger by 2030. Despite global efforts, projections show that an estimated 600 million people – 7% of the world's population - will still suffer from hunger in 2030. This is the same proportion as in 2015, meaning that there will no progress on SDG 2.
In parallel with the SDGs, 2023 marks the halfway point of the first phase (2021-2025) of Agriterra's Farmer Focused Transformation (FFT) programme as well, and is therefore a good moment to reflect, review and see how we are progressing. With FFT, Agriterra deploys its integrated trajectories of sustainable services, farmer-led business and Lobby & Advocacy to strengthen the position of organised farmers, and aims to contribute to the SDGs, in particular SDG 2 and 8. The next paragraph shares updates on the progress made up to 2022, across the six goals set out for the programme.
- Support to Farmers and Their Organisations: Our first goal is to support 1 million farmers through 320 farmers' organisations by 2025. While our progress with the number of supported organisations (189) is slightly behind, we have already made a remarkable accomplishment by supporting 1.53 million individual farming members. A significant achievement!
- Financial Mobilisation through Lobby and Advocacy: Our second goal is to mobilise 50 million euros through lobby and advocacy proposals, to support Farmer Organisations (FOs) to effectively lobby in favour of their members to improve the agricultural enabling environment and boost rural development. Thus far we have mobilised a total of €1.87 million as a result of 25 proposals. Whilst still relatively small in comparison to the ambition, we expect more FOs to show an interest in lobby and advocacy in the years to come. There is an untapped potential for growth!
- Linking FOs to Financial Institutions: Our third goal, to mobilise 60 million euros with 70 FOs linked to financial institutions, has also made steady and increasing progress. So far, Agriterra has mobilised €11.07 million and linked 34 FOs to financial institutions with signs of more growth in the future. An important catalyst for innovation, investments and economic growth!
- Creating Farmer-Led Enterprises: Our fourth goal is to establish 30 new farmer-led enterprises that improve farmers' access to markets and Agri services. We are proud to report that 23 enterprises have been successfully created thus far!
- Supporting Direct Jobs: Our fifth goal is to support 10,000 direct jobs, contributing to rural employment opportunities. By the end of 2022, we supported 7,627 direct jobs, of which 2,886 (38%) are female and 4,272 (56%) are youth. Significant progress with good gender and youth balance!
- Training and Empowerment: Our sixth goal is to train 30,000 people (9,000 women and 4,500 youth), conduct 50 Female Leadership Trainings, and establish 30 youth and 20 women councils. By the end of 2022, we had trained 8,837 individuals, comprising 2,548 women and 2,620 youth. We need to train more women! However, with FFT, Agriterra has made strides towards enhancing youth and women empowerment within FOs, by conducting 19 Female Leadership Trainings, and establishing 12 youth councils and 4 women councils over 2021-2022.
While we celebrate our successes, we acknowledge the areas that require improvement. A key reflection going forward will be improving the position of female farmers in our work. This will be improved by paying more attention to making our trainings more accessible to women, increasing the number of Female Leadership Training organised and exploring opportunities to set up more women councils within FOs.
Secondly, resource mobilisation for Lobby & Advocacy will be intensified through increasing our internal capacity in this regard.
Finally, we will continue to grow our partnership base of Farmer Organisations. As Agriterra's Farmer Focused Transformation programme strides onwards, each success echoes as clear proof of how our focused actions with Farmer Organisations can drive a transformative change in the agricultural sector, converging in unity with the SDGs.