Description/achievement of initiative
The FAC initiative will work towards revitalization of existing and establishment of new agricultural cooperatives to address the problem of small farm inefficiencies in East and Southern Africa. Farm sizes of less than two hectares form 85% of all farms in the world (von Braun, 2008). On the whole, these small farms are not economically efficient because of relatively high input costs compared to profits. Small farmers in East and Southern Africa are unable to take advantage of economies of scale and often lack the financial resources such as credits and loans to make their farms profitable.
Agricultural cooperatives are not new in Africa, they date back to 1960s but unfortunately their full potential has never been exploited on the continent especially the Sub-Saharan region where commercially viable farming and food security continue to be a challenge. State controlled cooperatives have almost collapsed all together. There have been numerous efforts by farmers in countries like Uganda to revive these farming unions but the risk of failure remains because the challenges that faced their predecessors like mismanagement and limited empowerment offered to individual farmers have not been addressed. Agricultural Development Institute (ADI) has done extensive research into past and present farmers' unions and through a 5 year project called The FAC initiative will engage existing cooperatives through research and training especially in sustainable farming methods so as to address core challenges faced by today's cooperatives. These challenges include but not limited to inadequate commercial capacity, access to capital, limited mechanization among others. ADI will also mobilize and train farming communities with an aim of establishing successful cooperatives in communities where they do not exist.
Arrangements for Capacity-Building and Technology Transfer
Revitalization of existing and establishment of new agricultural cooperatives in East and Southern Africa where small farms are prevalent will allow farmers to share capital and reduce input costs thereby increasing production and income.There are many advantages of establishing agricultural cooperatives. According to Motiram and Vakulabharanam, farmers in cooperatives have more bargaining power, lower transaction costs in getting loans, and better access to information about its members and their resources compared to “outsiders” such as moneylenders and contractors, benefits which strengthen the cooperative’s power (Motiram & Vakulabharanam, p. 4). Farmers have more individual power and control over production, including inputs and land use, than they do through contract farming, and thus food security is less vulnerable under a cooperative model (Motiram & Vakulabharanam, 2007).ADI through the FAC initiative will ensure that farmers are trained and empowered to achieve these benefits using modern and sustainable agricultural practices. Selected farmers from various target farming communities will be trained in various agricultural fields at either our Kampala or Pretoria offices, these will complement our technical team as outreach ambassadors.
Coordination mechanisms/governance structure
The FAC initiative will be coordinated by Agricultural Development Institute (ADI) an Agricultural subsidiary of Hoopoe Group.
Hoopoe Group, Agricultural Development Institute (ADI)