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PAN AFRICAN FARMERS PLATFORM DECLARATION

Marek Poznanski, 29 May 2008
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The four networks of farmer organizations affirm, through this declaration, their total engagement to assume this historic necessity by deciding, here in Addis Ababa, to establish a “Pan African Platform for the farmer of Africa”.

Faced with the alarming situation that has struck the African populations, the networks of farmer and agricultural producer organizations of Southern Africa (SACAU), Central Africa (PROPAC), Eastern Africa (EAFF) and West Africa (ROPPA) met in Addis-Ababa, Ethiopia, from 21st to 23rd of May 2008, to share information and exchange ideas on the current state of African agriculture and possible solutions .

Considering that networks of African farmer organizations all have the same mission, i.e. to defend and promote the interests of agricultural producers

Noting that these African agricultural producers share the same geographical space and natural resources: land, water, forests;

Noting also that, although they represent the demographic majority of the African population, these family farm households and agricultural producers still suffer the consequences of agricultural and rural policies that do not reflect the realities they live and the preoccupations they continually proclaim;

Noting also that, thanks to the sweat of their labor, which is badly remunerated thanks to constantly decreasing agricultural prices, the States – on the contrary – have been able to harvest significant wealth which has very often been invested elsewhere than in the rural areas;

Noting finally that, today - as yesterday - these agricultural producers are the main victims of conflicts, disasters and crises such as the current one on food;

The networks of African farmer and agricultural producer organizations reviewed the different factors that are at the origin of the food and agricultural crisis in Africa.

It must be recognized that, despite efforts to promote regional integration, most of the actions and initiatives are seriously behind schedule. On the contrary, despite the aspirations of NEPAD, Africa continues to be oriented more towards the outside than inwardly.

African agriculture has thus encountered a failure in which all of us have participated: we Africans in the first instance, African political leaders and farmers’ organizations, as well as our partners and the bilateral and multilateral cooperation programmes.

The farmer organization networks consider that the present situation of African agriculture is bad. However, they judge that this is not a fatality and that the situation of food price increases is not necessarily an unfavorable factor.

Seizing the current opportunity for African farmers to obtain a better remuneration for their products, however, requires that our States, our Regional Economic Communities and the AU urgently engage in a dialogue involving all of us, here in Africa and not elsewhere.

The farmer organization networks also noted that over more than five years they have strengthened their mutual knowledge and have built up a real spirit of solidarity through concerted action, in particular while working together to improve the feasibility of the NEPAD and to warn the world of the threats which the EPAs might pose for the future of African agriculture.

These challenges have convinced them that the progress of African agriculture can only be lasting if the farmers’ organizations can act at continental level. The four networks of farmer organizations affirm, through this declaration, their total engagement to assume this historic necessity by deciding, here in Addis Ababa, to establish a “Pan African Platform for the farmer of Africa”.

The farmer organization networks have established a steering committee composed of the 4 presidents of the 4 sub-regional farmer organization networks and have designated Mr. Mamadou Cissokho as facilitator.This new instrument, in our eyes, brings a strong value added to the pursuit of the mandates and the activities of our local, national and sub-regional organizations. It also constitutes a powerful lever to promote a resurgence of African agriculture so that it can fulfill the functions of any agriculture worthy of its name.

CONCLUSION

Convinced that there are no alternatives to the mobilization of our own human resources and our own financial resources, however modest they may be, and conscious of the fact that our continent - despite the negative image of the outstretched hand, of suffering, of misery that is projected to us every day - possesses natural resources, high quality human resources, and positive values that are applicable to all of humanity, we commit ourselves, in the context of the Pan-African platform of farmers organizations, to save our lives, our families, our nations and Africa, our continent.

We the undersigned

Mrs Fanny Makina Vice President SACAU

Mr Philip Kiriro President EAFF

Mrs Elizabeth Atangana President PROPAC

Mr Ndiogou Fall President ROPPA

This date: 23rd May, 2008, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

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