In many cases, however, more farmers are involved during collective sales. Moreover, it is an inherent part of our strategy to achieve policy changes within companies, at commodity sector level and in national legislation, and to encourage other organisations and governments to replicate successful experiences on a much larger scale, so that multiple farming families benefit from our interventions.
In East Africa, we were running a large programme to promote collective selling of surplus food crops, in which very large numbers of farmers are directly involved in 2017 and 2018. This programme came to an end in 2019.
In DRC, two new programmes were launched, which allows us to reach more farmers in two new areas.
In West Africa, farmers have been organising themselves according to commodity for many years, resulting in very large farmers’ organisations. We support those organisations in supplying rice for government institutions (schools, prisons etc.). As these are business actions at national level, a lot of farmers are involved.
In Vietnam, we started working in new provinces after the vegetable farmer organisations in the previous provinces “graduated” last year: they continue their business activities without our support. Moreover, a big part of our programme is directed towards policy work to promote Participatory Guarantee Systems for safe vegetables, instead of directly working with farmer groups. In the rice sector we test new business cases on a smaller scale, but big companies are involved, so lessons learned find a way on a bigger scale.
There is still a big gender gap when we look at the farmers we directly support via their organisations. Almost three-quarters of the members of farmers’ organisations are men. Especially in the coffee and cocoa sector, traditionally more men are involved. However, in most of our regions we see specific interventions to give more opportunities to women.