The Regional Platform of Central African Farmers’ Organizations: An interview

The Regional Platform of Central African Farmers' Organizations: An interview

Start a dialogue!

As part of the celebration of the United Nations Decade for Family Farming 2019-2028, we invite you to discover a partner organization, the role that it plays in promoting and giving a voice to these small producers who play an important role in the fight for food security.

The Regional Platform of Central African Farmers’ and Producers’ Organizations (PROPAC), based in Yaoundé, Cameroon, is an umbrella structure that oversees ten (10) national farmer organizations in the Central African sub-region, the Economic Community of   Central African States, and the Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa. These ten member organizations supervise 75,000 farmers’  groups, associations, joint initiative groups, cooperatives, federations, and economic and community interest groups. These structures oversee 3 million family farms and impact 32, million people.

Read our interview with the Executive Secretary of PROPAC, Mr. Célestin Nga.

Interviewer (Meli Rostand): Hello, Mr. Nga!

Mr. Nga: Hello.

Interviewer: Tell us, when and how was PROPAC created?

Mr. Nga: PROPAC was created in February 2005. This was the result of a structuring process initiated by the leaders of Central African farmer organizations in  in 1998 to meet the needs of farmer organizations in terms of capacity building, representation and participation in negotiation and decision-making.

It was recognized as a regional organization for the promotion of Central African farmers’ organizations, based in Yaoundé, Cameroon.

Interviewer: What are the objectives of PROPAC?

Mr. Nga: PROPAC seeks to:

  • represent small-scale farmers in discussion forums and decision-making bodies;
  • promote experience sharing among members;
  • promote the interests of small-scale farmers;
  • strengthen solidarity between organizations and other development stakeholders;
  • build the capacities of farmer organizations and their leaders and promote farmer expertise for sustainable development;
  • promote the gender approach in rural areas;
  • promote microfinance in farmer organizations;
  • work for the creation of an investment fund for rural development;
  • work for the sustainable management of natural resources;
  • promote social, cultural, economic and financial integration at national, sub-regional and international levels;
  • promote the emergence of farmer entrepreneurship;
  • contribute to the building of farmer power in the region and the implementation of common agricultural policies of ECCAS and CEMAC.

Interviewer: Who are the members of PROPAC and how do you become a member?

Mr. Nga: PROPAC covers the 10 countries of the Central African sub-region, including ECCAS and CEMAC. These are: Angola, Burundi, Cameroon, Congo, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Sao Tome Principe, and Chad. In each of these countries, there is at least one national umbrella structure of farmers’ organizations affiliated to PROPAC.

Each member of PROPAC is an organization comprising farmers, breeders, artisanal fishermen, indigenous peoples as well as operators of non-timber forest products.

Interviewer: Can we have a picture of your major successes and challenges since the creation of the Platform?

Mr. Nga: Since its creation in 2005, PROPAC’s main achievements have been in four areas: institutional capacity building, advocacy and strategic positioning, economic services development, and gender equality promotion.

Obviously, there was the institutionalization of PROPAC and the national member farmer organization. We put in place a website www.infopropac.org and communication through electronic media, print media and social networks.

There was also the institutionalization of the Forum of African Rural Women within the Pan-African Farmers’ Organization (PAFO), and also the participation in the development of the common agricultural policy of the Economic Community of Central African States and in the Regional Programme of Agricultural Investment, Food Security and Nutrition (PRIASAN).

 

We developed regional guidelines for family farming for Central Africa and we were in the frontline of the implementation of the action plan of the United Nations Decade for Family Farming in Central Africa.

As for the economic development support services, we offered training, coaching, monitoring to cassava production cooperatives in Cameroon and DRC and supported the development of business plans for economic initiatives promoted by agricultural entrepreneurs, as well as the funding of economic initiatives.

Finally, among its missions, PROPAC promotes a sensitive gender approach. It gives priority to women, young people, and minorities. Therefore, it set up a Regional College of Rural Women. This statutory organ of PROPAC aims at creating a space for consultation between women in order to promote and defend the interests of rural women in consultation and decision-making bodies on agricultural and rural development policies in Central Africa.

Interviewer: What are your priorities in this United Nations Decade for Family Farming which is focused on the agricultural and rural growth driven by small-scale farmers?

Mr. Nga: We have several  priorities related to training, support for production and consumption, and especially access to funding. Our priorities include:

  • Institutionalize a framework for political dialogue between family farmers and governments;
  • Support extension services for family farmers in all countries;
  • Harmonize the interventions of technical partners in family farming with a mechanism for intervention coordination and monitoring;
  • Set up mechanisms leading to the promotion of produce from family farming in order to stimulate production. This requires the adoption of a law obliging the consumption of a specific percentage of produce from family farming in structures such as school canteens, military barracks, prisons, etc.;
  • Facilitate young family farmers’ access to factors of production (financial resources, land, information, training-action, agricultural machinery, etc.);
  • Ensure a sustainable funding of initiatives related to vocational training, business incubation, integration, and effective involvement of young people in activities, trades, jobs in the agricultural sector (Central Africa Agricultural Productivity Program(CAAPP));
  • Establish capacity building mechanisms for family farmers enabling them to innovate and increase productivity in a sustainable manner;
  • Establish mechanisms to stabilize prices, especially by setting up exchanges for agricultural produce, in order to counter price fluctuations, which affect both producers and consumers.

Interviewer: What prospects do you see for your organization?

Mr. Nga: We aspire develop more economic services with members, build more strategic partnerships, mobilize more resources, and enhance capacity building.

Interviewer: Mr. Célestin Nga, thank you!

Mr. Nga: Thank you.

———–

Interview conducted by MELI Rostand

To contact or  know PROPAC better, please visit the links and addresses below:

Headquarters of the Executive Secretariat of PROPAC is located in Yaoundé, Cameroon. (Yaoundé 5 – Cité Municipale – Omnisports district 2nd Rue 1.506 – Portal N ° 93)

Address of PROPAC: BP 11537 Yaoundé – Cameroon, Tel: 00 237 222 21 14 33 Email: [email protected]

 

Website: www.infopropac.org

Facebook:www.facebook.com/infopropac,

Twitter: www.twitter.com/PROPACinfos

YouTube: Propac Infos,

Intagram:www.instagram.com/infospropac/,

LinkedIn:www.linkedin.com/company/propac-plateforme-regionale -des-organizations-paysannes-d-afrique-centrale /

 

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