…To Farmers Union
To strengthen the capacity of Forest and Farm Producer Organizations (FFPOs) in Liberia, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) through the Forest and Farm Facility (FFF) program recently signed a Letter of Agreement (LoA) with the Farmers Union Network of Liberia (FUN) valued over US$98,000.
The new FFF agreement with FUN is the second targeting three additional counties including River Cess, Gbarpolu and Margibi.
The first agreement supported Lofa, Cape Mount and Nimba Counties, bringing the total number of counties supported by the FFF through the FUN to six.
A release said the agreement is aimed to establish and strengthen the forest and farm commodity associations, improve communications and advocacy at local and national levels as well as enhance their business and marketing capacities.
Mr. Julius Bass, National Coordinator of Farmers Union Network signed the agreement on behalf of the FUN while FAO was represented by its Country Representative Marc Abdala.
Bass recounted the longstanding partnership between FAO-FFF and the Farmer Union Network in working with forest farmers for sustainable livelihood.
He added that the funding provided will enhance the capacity of forest producers and add value to their production.
“We are going to work with forest producers in the target counties, adding value to their production and thereby ensuring that the forest is protected,” Bass added.
He said with support from FAO through the FFF, FUN will engage smallholder forest producers and women’s groups through capacity enhancement exercises to reduce rural poverty and deliver food security, sustainable management of the forest, biodiversity and climate change.
Mr. Bass noted that the agreement will bring together small holder and community-based farmers in a more organized way so that they will be stronger and more effective to increase their voices on policy issues to improve their business opportunities.
“This will help organize farmers to get more structured and direct support and will give FUN the mandate to advocate for more enabling national policies and lobby for direct support from government and development partners to the forest and farm organizations,” he added.
The FFF fund partnership agreements and small grants with smallholder, women, community and indigenous peoples, producers’ organizations and governments at local, national, regional and international levels are under three pillars.
The pillars include strengthening smallholder, women, community and Indigenous Peoples’ producer organizations for business/livelihoods and policy engagement; catalyze multi-sectorial stakeholder policy platforms with governments at local and national levels and link local voices and learning to global arena through genuine participatory processes/communication and information sharing.
The release said multi-year partnership agreements are ongoing in ten countries currently including Bolivia, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Zambia, the Gambia, Liberia, Kenya, Vietnam, Nepal and Myanmar.
“Country grants are allocated to forest and farm producer organizations, government agencies and service providers at the country level and focus on organizing forest and farm producers increased policy voice and for livelihoods and business. The supported activities reflect the local priorities, respect national dynamics between stakeholders, stimulate the dialogue between parties, and respond to the variety of country contexts and opportunities,” the release added.