The current period, marked by the United Nations Decade for Family Farming, witnesses the convergence of multifaceted efforts to promote sustainable and inclusive agriculture on the African continent. In this dynamic, the election of Mr. Ibrahima COULIBALY, the president of the Network of Peasant Organizations and Agricultural Producers of West Africa (ROPPA), to the presidency of the Pan African Farmers Organisation (PAFO) during the General Assembly held in Tunis from 23 to 28 October 2023, embodies a promising transition.
PAFO, established in 2010, represents the heartfelt cry of African farmers, articulated through five regional networks of peasant organizations: ROPPA for West Africa, EAFF for East Africa, PROPAC for Central Africa, SACAU for Southern Africa, and UMNAGRI for North Africa. These networks unite their voices to carry the aspirations of tens of millions of African peasants integrated into nearly 70 national organizations, unions, federations, cooperatives, and associations present in about 49 African countries.
Mr. COULIBALY, a fervent advocate of agroecology and chairman of the Steering Committee of the Alliance for Agroecology in West Africa (3AO), brings to PAFO a renewed vision. His mandate foresees an intensification of efforts to promote agroecology, an approach that combines environmentally respectful agricultural practices with economic viability.
The inclusion of women and youth in the agricultural sector also holds a prominent place on the agenda of the new president of PAFO. This orientation aligns perfectly with the objectives of the United Nations Decade for Family Farming, focusing on the economic and social empowerment of peasants.
Under Mr. COULIBALY’s leadership, PAFO aspires to strengthen solidarity among peasant organizations and African producers. It also aims to ensure effective representation and robust defense of farmers’ interests at the continental and international levels.
Institutional development, fundraising, information and communication, as well as the exchange of experiences and dissemination of good agricultural practices will be priority areas. These initiatives will contribute to strengthening the capacities of peasant organizations in Africa, in harmony with the vision of a dynamic, prosperous, and sustainable African agriculture.
Strategic partnerships with relevant actors will be cultivated to support agricultural sectors and rural development. These alliances are crucial for mobilizing the necessary resources and ensuring sustainable support for agricultural initiatives on the continent.
In sum, the election of Mr. Ibrahima COULIBALY to the presidency of PAFO is not only a testimony to the confidence placed in him by the African agricultural community but also a step forward towards the realization of PAFO’s ambitious objectives. His leadership, rooted in agroecology and social inclusion, is a major asset for PAFO, and by extension, for African agriculture, as we navigate through the United Nations Decade for Family Farming.