Over 150 In IFFA Africa 2 Forest Producer Conference
Second Pan-African forest and farm producer organisations conference on exchanging experiences on business, innovation, youth and gender took place in Morogoro, Tanzania 28-29th of September 2017.
Conference declaration approved by acclamation (Photo: Anna Kakuli)
Over 150 participants from 17 African and 4 other countries gathered for this follow up to the 1st Pan African Conference in Nairobi, Kenya 2015. Worth noting was that 1/3 of participants were women. A good number of very dynamic young people also attended and participated actively. From the IFFA board participated Peter deMarsh, Dominic Walubengo and Lennart Ackzell. Our close related FF-SPAK from Kenya had numerous representatives at the conference.
Other highlights were the strong business focus of getting into the value chain of forest and non-forest products. Also, the evident need to form national federations/associations so forest smallholders can have their voice heard in national policy developments and can engage in regional networks such as this conference.
Government representatives including the Tanzanian Minster of Natural Resources and government representatives from Liberia, Gambia, Kenya, Zambia expressed advanced views on the usefulness of producer organisations.
For IFFA this was a conference in the series with Americas’ in Mexico 2014, Africas’ in Kenya 2015, Asians’ in Thailand 2016 and now this 2nd Africas’ in Tanzania.
“From this conference, we believe that the FFPOs across Africa will take home practical lessons from their peers in different countries to strengthen their ability to improve livelihoods and access to markets for all of their members — including women and youth — while responding proactively to climate change. FFPOS are key actors in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals in Africa,” said Jeffrey Campbell, manager of the Forest Farm Facility (FFF) at FAO.
Developing more climate-resilient operations was a critical topic at the conference – particularly the role of smallholder associations in landscape restoration and in combating desertification while supporting adaptation and mitigation of climate change impacts. Participants reviewed experiences in many countries, including Niger, with the Action Against Desertification Project in support of the Great Green Wall, where a restoration model has been developed with communities at its center.
The conference was opened by the Minister of Natural Resources and Tourism of Tanzania Jummane Maghembe and hosted by the National Networks of Farmers’ Groups in Tanzania (MVIWATA) with the National Tree Growers Associations’ Union of Tanzania.
The event was co-organized by FFF (a partnership between FAO, the International Institute for Environment and Development, the International Union for Conservation of Nature, and AgriCord) and the International Family Forestry Association (IFFA), Africa Forest Enterprises Connect Network (AFECONET), We Effect, Central Union of Agricultural Producers and Forest Owners/Finnish Agri-agency for Food and Forest Development (MTK/FFD), Farm Forestry Smallholder Producers Association of Kenya (FF-SPAK), Network for Natural Gums and Resins in Africa (NGARA), and the African Union Commission.
The Conference ended with approval by acclamation of the Conference Declaration