Support to the Farmers Union of Malawi (FUM) (2013)

Project: the participation of smallholder farmers in decision-making processes regarding agricultural policy and in the planning of agricultural services

Beneficiary: Farmer Union of Malawi (FUM)

Duration: 2013-2014

Budget: 200.000 euro

The Government of Flanders decided to make a contribution to the Farmers Union of Malawi (FUM) for the project "Integrating and Strengthening Capacity of Farmers into District Stakeholder Panels". This umbrella body of farmers' organisations was established to allow smallholder farmers to exert greater influence on national policy.

A contribution of 200,000 Euros is charged to the 2013 budget. This project will start in the spring of 2013 and will last two years.

The Malawi Government acknowledges the importance of these forms of participation for the realisation of its policy. However, for the moment, the self-organisation of farmers is still weak. 

FUM is the organisation par excellence to work on this and to contribute to a more effective policy formulation and implementation. As a result of the policy of decentralisation in Malawi, FUM too has adjusted its structure. Cooperation takes place with the District Farmers Unions (DFU). The idea is to represent farmers in the District Stakeholder Panels via these DFUs. The DFUs will be assisted by smaller study groups which will meet on a monthly basis to discuss specific subjects and to give input to the DFUs for the District Stakeholder Panels.

Currently, the DFUs are not strong enough to engage effectively in the District Stakeholder Panels. Therefore, the main priority should be to improve the operation of these organisations.

The funded project is specifically oriented towards the pilot districts of Kasungu, Mzimba and Rumphi. The project will focus on the participation of smallholder farmers in decision-making processes regarding agricultural policy and in the planning of agricultural services. The following objectives are to be realised:

  • to give smallholder farmers in the pilot districts a voice through well-functioning farmers unions;
  • to strengthen agricultural extension services by recording the primary needs, thanks to effective consultation between local farmers unions and the central policy level;
  • to streamline communication between smallholder farmers at district level and the national level by providing effective communication instruments.