The Pan African Farmers Forum (known as PAFFO) was formally launched in Malawi last week, where it held its inaugural general assembly. Oxfam is proud to have supported and been part of these events, which have created a truly Pan African organisation of farmers for the first time. The launch is an important step towards farmers having a far greater say in the issues that really matter to them at national and continental levels. For too long, important decisions – such as on agricultural support services and market regulations – have been made without involving the farmers who end up being most affected. PAFFO aims to help change that.
PAFFO is made up of five regional farmers’ associations from across Africa and the general assembly included representatives of farmers’ groups from most African countries. It is already attracting a lot of attention – the newly elected PAFFO President, Elisabeth Atangana, shared a platform with the President of Malawi during a conference of African agricultural ministers. Other speakers included the CEO of NEPAD, who is responsible for the Comprehensive African Agricultural Development Programme (CAADP).
Elisabeth called on “our states to respect their commitments made in Maputo to increase their budget support to agriculture, but also to improve the quality of support and put in place policies to support agricultural producers,” – referring to the Maputo Declaration of 2003 when African governments agreed to invest 10 percent of their budgets in agriculture and rural development. Few have kept that promise.
Elisabeth told the crowd PAFFO is committed to “ensuring our contribution to food security and self sufficiency in Africa.”