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FANRPAN attends Eastern Africa Farmers Federation (EAFF) Congress
Arusha, Tanzania
28 July 2009 - 30 July 2009


The Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network attended the Eastern Africa Farmers Federation (EAFF) Congress from 28 - 30 July 2009. FANRPAN's attendance was motivated by the fact that farmers are a critical stakeholder, and that the network has a current Memorandum of Understanding with EAFF, signed in 2008. The director of Communication and Policy Advocacy, Mr Francis Hale represented FANRPAN, and his attendance marked the first phases towards the operationalisation of the MoU. FANRPAN and EAFF are partners in the second phase of the Platform for African and European Partnership on Agricultural Research for Development (PAEPARD II) project currently in its final stages before official launch.

EAFF is a network of farmers' organizations in Eastern Africa, the equivalent of the Southern African Confederation of Agricultural Unions (SACAU) in Southern Africa. Formed in 2001, the main role of EAFF is to voice legitimate concerns and interests of farmers of the region with the aim of enhancing regional cohesiveness and improving the socio-economic status of farmers. The federation endeavours to promote the regional integration of farmers notably through trade, and in the process, enabling the representation of farmers at regional and international levels. EAFF membership originates from Burundi, Rwanda, Kenya, Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo and Tanzania, and the federation is at an advanced stage of formalising membership from Djibouti, Sudan, Ethiopia and Eritrea as its scope extends to the horn of Africa. The 2009 congress is the second, after a successful one held in 2007.

The congress was officially opened by the guest of honour, Tanzanian Minister for EAC Affairs, Dr Diodorus B Kamala, after speeches by the President of EAFF, Mr Philip Kiriro, and COMESA representative and ACTESA CEO, Dr Cris Muyunda. The presentation from FANRPAN was featured in the first session after the official opening, sharing the high table with the Regional Economic Communities, the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and the East African Community (EAC), represented by Dr Cris Muyunda and Dr Weggoro respectively. The focus of FANRPAN's presentation was on sharing an overview of the organisation; highlighting the network's endorsement of 'Farming First' principles; and emphasising the central role of multi-stakeholder dialogues at all levels as an effective strategy for empowering and strengthening farmers. Apart from delivering the presentation, Mr Hale also participated in panel discussions.

As a parting shot, Mr Hale invited EAFF to take an active role in climate change issues by rallying behind the Africa-Wide Civil Society Climate Change Initiative for Policy Dialogues (ACCID) project that FANRPAN is driving under the auspices of the COMESA Climate Change Project. He encouraged EAFF to use their network to mobilise farmers and civil society and align them with national and regional governments towards a common position on the climate change negotiations scheduled for December 2009 in Copenhagen, Denmark, and beyond. EAFF must take an active role in all the planned meetings for private business and civil society, as well as joining the ACCID CSO delegation to the negotiations.

Furthermore, Mr Hale emphasised the need for FANRPAN and EAFF to focus on sharing research results across all programming areas as well as aligning diaries on critical activities to ensure that the two organisations complemented each other. He extended an invitation to all participants to attend the FANRPAN Annual Multi-Stakeholder Policy Dialogue scheduled for 1 - 4 September 2009, in Maputo, Mozambique.

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