By EKOI, Ashu Epemi, ALANGEH, Romanus Che (July 2003)
The North West Farmers' Organisation, NOWEFOR, is a federation of unions of Common Initiative Groups (CIGs), created by farmers for farmers. This was because they saw that the individual farmers were lacking in many aspects like the provision of farm inputs, market outlets, technical know-how and finance. Therefore, NOWEFOR sought to redress the farmers' problems in the follows ways:
§ The development and promotion of economic activities
§ Enhancement of farmers technical know-how through capacity building on mobilisation and the judicious management of resources
§ Protection of member farmers' interest
§ The search for various resources for member farmers
§ Improve upon the situation of members' revenue and its regularity in a gender balanced manner.
Thus, NOWEFOR's focus on organisation, functioning and management of resources for the fundamental needs of their society led to the influx of farmers into this institution. A potential member of NOWEFOR must therefore be a Union of Common Initiative Groups (CIGs) or Union of sectors of production. A Union must consist of at least 50 farmers and must be carrying out either productive agricultural activities such as food and/or cash crop production (maize, beans, groundnuts, potatoes, vegetable varieties, coffee, etc), livestock production (pigs, goats, sheep, poultry and cattle); fish rearing; bee farming; or be a Union of craftsmen and craftswomen, or Unions engaged in arts like embroidery. It is worth mentioning here that even non members benefit from financial, material and technical assistance in the execution of their projects. This is to encourage them to become members.
As long as farmers show interest with NOWEFOR, they too join efforts towards achieving the following goals:
§ Capacity building through education and sensitisation during meetings and farmers' open days. Workshops, seminars, training sessions and exchange visits so that farmers can be able to have a very strong cohesion through frequent dialogue and practical sessions. These follow-up arrangements reduce most of the prevalent problems like illiteracy especially in the rural areas.
§ A micro-finance development project known as North West Farmers' Organisation Credit House (NOWEFOCH). This organ mobilises local financial resources and grant loans taking into consideration the agricultural calendar.
§ A NOWEFOR multipurpose shop has been created in order to ensure the availability of farm inputs, good quality of farm products and facilitate the marketing of farmers' produce.
§ There is promotion of a sustainable agriculture to scale-up food security in the scheme of Family Integrated Continuous and Competitive Exploitation (FICCE).
§ Considering the important role communication plays in any development process, NOWEFOR has come up with a Newsletter called " NOWEFOR INFO " to keep farmers informed of latest developments in the field of rural and agricultural development.
This organisation (NOWEFOR) has partners in development such as Government Agencies, NGOs, foreign private donors, Farmers' Organisation, Networks intervening in the same domain and Resource persons. With the above facts therefore, North West farmers will not hesitate to say that there is a marked improvement in their projects and living standards because they are now able through the support of NOWEFOR to meet their daily needs like child education and healthcare and have at their disposal good quality fertilisers and other farm inputs.
There is the hope that all farmers' organisations in the North West Province of Cameroon will join the NOWEFOR, so that increased and sustainable production be felt, most of all, carry out production at very low costs and reap high profits which will go a long way to meet the international cry for the eradication of poverty in the world as a whole.
The World Peasant Meeting is the best farmers' forum since it brings together peasants from all over the world to discuss burning issues concerning them, to exchange ideas and experiences and quest for a unified economic liberalisation policy so that farmers can have quick access to loans, produce under favourable conditions and sell their goods freely for the benefit of all mankind.
This fils was written during the World Peasant Meeting from 6th-11th May in Cameroon