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WEST AFRICA FARMERS ALLIANCE (WAFA)


West Africa Farmers Organisations of the Commonwealth

Introduction and Background


West Africa Farmers Alliance (WAFA) consists of West Africa Agricultural Cooperatives (WAGRICOOPS) and West Africa Farmers Organization (WAFO). The creation and bringing together of WAGRICOOPS, WAFO and WAFA is not a recent development. They date back to 2009 when Coalition of Farmers Ghana (COFAG), FAKA Cooperative Network Ghana (FAKACOOP) and Ghana Cooperative Agricultural Producers and Marketing Association (AGRIC COOP Ghana) started talking about cooperation and alliances at the National Level and the need to reach out to the West Africa Regional Level to engage with one another as Farmer-to-farmer, FO-to FO and Coop-to-Coop and build exchanges of experiences, expertise and creating formidable common front for Advocacy and Policy influence at National, Sub-Regional, Continental and Global Levels. In so doing it was necessary to reach out to the FOs and Agri Coops in the other four Anglophone West African Countries of the Commonwealth-Nigeria, The Gambia, Sierra-Leone and Liberia- for the historical characteristics, common challenges, similar working approaches, similar legal frameworks, ease of communication and for practical and logistical purposes. WAFA is an Alliance of the willing, respecting freedom of association, giving that there are more than one Farmers Platforms in several Countries and most Farmers do not belong to a Group hence innovative and alternative Institutional arrangement in reaching them is even more imperative. Ghana, Nigeria, Sierra-Leone and the Gambia have currently submitted applications for WAFA Membership which has been approved.



Introduction and Background


Although a Multi-lingual approach for all Fifteen Countries of the whole of West Africa would have been desirable, it was not possible for an effort funded initially by farmers, mainly smallholders, with limited linguistic capabilities. It was held however as practicable that efforts will be made to reach out to regional Groupings in Francophone West Africa, other sub-regions, at the Continental and also at Global levels such as with SACAU, EAFF, ROPPA, Pan-African Farmers Organization-PAFO and World Farmers Organization (WFO) respectively, in due course when negotiated modalities and opportunities facilitate this for an inclusive partnership. In particular WAFA will seek the cooperation of its member in Ghana, COFAG (which is already member of WFO) to encourage its other members in the remaining 4 countries to also seek membership in the World Farmers Organization (WFO), and support such membership application efforts. WAFA led the Commonwealth Countries in Africa to come together for their common historical heritage as Africa Farmers Alliance (AFA) which ultimately converges at Commonwealth Framers Organisation (CFO) With the Collaborating Secretariat of all these Commonwealth Farmers Organisations globally hosted in Ghana. WAFA also creates opportunities, International linkages, beneficial relationships, financial resources and business opportunities from multiple sources for its members. WAFA Regional Networks began with commonalities between them as English-speaking West Africa. As usual with forming Networks, Alliances and working modalities, initial challenges emerge, which sometimes delay processes and outcomes, but the will and interest is still there to have WAFA and its constituent Regional and National Organizations go forward with the idea of a formidable common front among farmers and their Organizations, at National, Regional, Continental and Global Levels.



WAFA Objectives

WAFA aims at adding Value to its member Farmers Organizations (FOs), their members and farmers, through modern, innovative, professional and entrepreneurial initiatives and practices that enable FOs, their members and farmers to operate as productive, profitable and sustainable businesses of pride, which are eventually self-financing and independent. WAFA like AFA and CFO or other National , Regional members of CFO in other Continents view Smallholder and Family Farmers as Small business people and Small farming businesses respectively whose efforts are aimed at breaking the poverty cycle and improving livelihoods of rural populations with dignity. To achieve these aims WAFA sets itself the following Objectives to: