Partner organisations

Partner organisations in 2021

Last year Rikolto financially supported 144 organisations in 16 countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America, compared to 136 the previous year. Of these, 62% are farmers’ organisations, compared to 55% the year before.

This change reflects our programme strategy: since we want to fix food systems, we also closely work with - and sometimes financially support - local NGOs, commodity platforms, different national and local government institutions, business service providers or research institutes. Moreover, we include investors and social lenders and private companies in our interventions. But our end goal remains the same: our interventions always benefit the farming communities and end consumers.

Constant consultation and dialogue with our multiple stakeholders is part of Rikolto’s DNA. In the next chapter you can read more about how we build partnerships, and an extensive overview of all our stakeholders can be found on our website.

Farmers’ organisations as business organisations

In 2021, we worked with a total of 206 farmer organisations, farmer cooperatives or farmer groups. 198 of them are supported in their business development; the remaining ones are national-level farmer unions or federations with whom we focus on advocacy work. Not all of these receive funding: we sometimes only give specific advice or provide trainings.

22 of the farmer organisations we work with are certified ‘organic’, 16 organisations are Fair Trade certified, 4 are UTZ certified, and 6 Global GAP.

We support farmer organisations in their business development, so that they are able to market the products of their members in a professional way, leading to stable incomes for farmers and more sustainable food available for consumers. Since 2018 we also keep track of the quantities of the main commodities sold collectively through a farmer organisation, ooperative or another collective action mechanism. Besides the collective sales (figures in the table below), farmers may well use part of their produce for own consumption or sell it individually through intermediaries.

In DR Congo, we reached less farmers in 2021 than in 2020. This is due to the end of the first phase of a big rice programme funded by the World Bank.

Guatemala is not a new country for Rikolto: we have worked with Guatemalan partners in the past, in the frame of a knowledge exchange project in the vegetable sector in Central America funded by the Belgian province of West Flanders. However, 2021 was the first year in which we worked directly with vegetable farmers.

In West Africa, and particularly in Burkina Faso, the number of farmers reached in 2021 is higher than in previous years. This is thanks to two new programmes in Burkina Faso that explicitly target women and youth. Also, within ongoing rice programmes, we focused more strongly on women and youth, and a lot of young rice farmers and women parboilers joined our partners UDERD and UNERIZ.

Membership of farmers’ organisations

Most of our interventions directly target members of farmers’ organisations. Globally, 104,217 farmers (67,975 men and 36,242 women) received Rikolto’s support in 2021, compared to 109,156 farmers in 2020. The end of the first phase of a big World Bank-funded programme for the rice sector is the main reason for the decrease compared to 2020. However, a second phase of this programme will be launched in 2022.

In many cases, more farmers benefit from our interventions as it is an inherent part of our strategy to achieve policy changes within companies, at commodity sector level and in national legislation, and to encourage other organisations and governments to replicate successful experiences on a much larger scale.

There is still a big gender gap when we look at the farmers we directly support through their organisations. 64% of the members of the farmers’ organisations we work with are men. In 2020, this was 62.5%. Women are hit hard by the pandemic. In East Africa for instance, many women do not own land for farming, but hire it. As a result of the limited cross-border trade due to the pandemic, most farmers had to sell their crops at lower prices than usual in 2020 on local markets that were already flooded with crops due to the closure of the tourist industry. This significantly affected farmer income, and particularly the ability of women to hire lands in 2021 to continue to produce. To tackle gender equality and equity, we started adopting our Global Gender Inclusion Strategy in the design of the new programmes in 2021.

Overall, Rikolto also pays special attention to increased participation of young people in farmer organisations governance, and to finding new job opportunities for them throughout the value chain. They are, after all, the future of our food systems. 26,290 members of the farmer organisations we work with, i.e. 25%, are younger than 35 years. In addition, in 2021, we had very specific interventions targeting 1,882 young people as entrepreneurs, versus 567 in 2020. 643 of these 1,882 aspiring young entrepreneurs are women and 977 are men.