Small Scale Farmers set the tone for Advocating for Pro-farmer agricultural budgeting by Launching the Vision 2025 Budget Mulimi Campaign
ESAFF small scale farmers have set the tone to strengthen their work on advocating for increased agricultural budgeting meant to benefit small scale farmers in the East and Southern Africa (ESA) region. This resulted in the ESAFF members Launching the Vision 2015-25 Budget Mulimi Campaign with the objective of strengthening small scale farmers advocacy work on agricultural policy making and funding targeting the CAADP, 2014 Malabo Declaration and the SADC RAP.
This was highlighted during the Mid-term review of the Budget Kilimo Campaign and the Advocacy Training workshop held from 20-23 June 2015 at Blue Pearl hotel, in Dare Salam, Tanzania. The workshop was attended by 14 of the 15 ESAFF country members from Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, South Africa, Malawi, Rwanda, Burundi, Madagascar, Seychelles, DRC and Swaziland (SCIEA). The objectives of the workshop included:
a. To review, share lessons and craft new advocacy strategies for the future Budget Kilimo 10% Campaign 2025 in East Africa and in Southern.
b. Conduct training on Communication Skills for Advocacy, and Review ESAFF communication strategies for ESAFF and members.
c. Review membership recruitment strategies, networking with potential regional and national like-minded organisations; Media Members of parliament and Ministries related to the agriculture sector.
The broad objective of the training and review seeks to enhance small scale farmers’ participation in governance for food security targeting in the ESA region. The workshop was also designed to contribute towards the attainment of the main objective of the Involving small scale farmers in policy dialogue and monitoring for improved food security in the East Africa Region (INVOLVE) project that is being funded by EU, OXFAM and other partners. Southern Africa counterparts also shared their experiences in advocacy work and stated that they had started engaging district agricultural officers, local and national governments through PETs to increase agricultural funding to benefit rural small scale farmers. The farmers castigated their governments for supporting large commercial farming and disbursing funds meant for agriculture lately after the farming season and at times the funds will be below the budgeted funds. It is well known that the core pillar of ESAFF is advocacy and for effective participation, small scale farmers need guiding documents like manuals to be used in facilitating the process.
ESAFF farmers welcomed the review of the Budget Kilimo Campaign and launching the Budget Milimi Campaign as the right approach to remain relevant and influence agricultural policy making in the ESA region and later the farmers were trained on advocacy, campaigning and lobbying. The purpose of the training was to provide skills on how farmer groups and ESAFF member organisations can influence the policies, decisions and structures that affect them. Such influence is achieved through Campaigning Advocacy and Lobbying (CAL) that was the focus of the training. The training described why and how to identify advocacy issues, plan related interventions, implement, monitor and evaluate them; and learn and grow from them. It was noted that the intended results of conducting advocacy work are to improve the policy environment, increase farmer capacity to work with others, to claim their rights and build their confidence to shape their destiny. The final intended impact is improved food security, agricultural practices, and fair business deals along the agriculture and agribusiness value chains.
After the review and training, each country member was provided with platform to highlight areas of advocacy work they want to pursue in the Vision 2025. The chairperson of ESAFF decried the different challenges that SSFs are facing that include poor or bad seeds, poor infrastructure, inadequate agricultural financing meant for small scale farmers, lack of markets, poor extension services, limited participation of in policy making by SSFs and limited agriculture research among others noting the need for ESAFF to build more capacity in advocacy. The ESAFF Chairperson emphasized the need to ensure the need for the Vision 2025 of the Budget Kilimo Campaign to target the Malabo Declaration, CAADP and SADC RAP processes to ensure that they address SSFs interests and ensure that SSFs
ESAFF 14 country members were all in accord that they need to strengthen their advocacy work around participating in the policy making processes by participating at the following levels:
• Local level: Engaging Councillors, Members of Parliament (MPs), district and provincial administrators, extension workers, NGOs and research institutions;
• National level: Engaging the parliament and its committees, ministers of agriculture, and permanent secretaries and heads of government department.
• Regional levels: Engaging Regional Economic Communities (RECs) such as SADC, COMESA and EAC and legislator (EALA) processes.
• Continental level: Engaging the African Union and its relevant structures on matters such as CAADP, the Malabo declaration, Continental Free trade area, Principles of Large Scale Land Based Investments.
The small scale farmers highlighted that there will continue lobbying local, national and regional governments to ensure that agricultural budgets published are the ones reaching the farmers and should be increased above the 10% threshold. The farmers in the EAC highlighted that they will continue convening district and national Budget Conference with local authorities, developing of position papers on budget and seed, conducting analysis of Agriculture financing to strengthened their evidence based advocacy, meeting with Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture, Food Security increased budgeting, access to markets and low cost as well as on land rights. The Southern Africa counterparts highlighted that they were going to continue with their advocacy work of the CAADP Compacts by engaging focal points, NAIPs, Malabo declaration, SADC RAP, seed issues, agro-ecology, climate change, land rights and access to low cost inputs and rural financing.
The farmers highlighted that they were going to use key event dates such as the International Peasant Day, farmers Day, World Food Day, International Water Day, budget consultation meetings and reading days to advocate for their issues ad engage media to express their issues.
The farmers highlighted that the previous Budget Kilimo Campaign had enabled them to getting local and national leaders making commitments, SSFs getting access to more valuable information and development of more networks with likeminded organizations like pressure groups on seeds and increased visibility of their organizations. The farmers highlighted that they were going to strengthen the campaign in the new Vision 2015-25 Budget Mulimi Campaign. By undertaking PETs and PSAM increased their knowledge about budget formulation and need for involvement in the process
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