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Food sovereignty brief n°13: West African Farmers’ Organisations and the Current Climate: Opportunities and Challenges

The farmers’ movement asserted itself strongly in West Africa in a very unique context—that of the 1980s, a time of State
withdrawal and structural adjustments, a vital associative dynamic in rural areas, the involvement of charismatic farmer
leaders, and the support of committed technical and financial partners. This movement became progressively structured, from
village groups to supra-national networks at the turn of the 2000s. Since the advent of these farmers’, livestock farmers’ and
herders’ organisations (FOs) and notably over the past ten years, the sub-regional context has changed greatly. In particular,
after the 2008 food crisis that was followed by other food and climate crises in the Sahel, we saw new armed conflicts,
dropping agricultural ODA, rising land prices and renewed interest in agriculture from the private sector, a springing up of
initiatives by the international community to fight food insecurity, and the announcement of ambitious agricultural investment
programmes, etc. In response to these major changes, FOs have attempted to adapt and make themselves heard while
simultaneously facing recurrent internal difficulties unique to all social movements. After approximately forty years of
existence, where is the West African farmers’ movement today? How have FOs’ strategies and practices changed? How are
they adapting to new challenges? This brief attempts to address all of these questions.

Read the brief in English: http://inter-reseaux.org/IMG/pdf/bulletin_de_synthe_se_no13_eng.pdf
Read the brief in French: http://www.inter-reseaux.org/IMG/pdf/Bulletin_de_syntheseOPmis_en_page_300914.pdf

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