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Capitalist expansion and agri-food systems in the Southern African region: A study on the relationship between the Southern African Confederation of Agricultural Unions (SACAU) and small-scale farmer associations

The focus of the study is on why peasant movements and small farmer unions join both the Southern African Confederation of Agricultural Unions (SACAU) and La Via Campesina (LVC). What is it that SACAU offers? Why is SACAU an attractive option for small farmers in this period? The study starts off with a background on the dominant agenda in African agriculture and reasons for the rapid growth in interest in the potential of African agriculture in the past few years after decades of neglect. A brief overview of the regional agricultural economy, agricultural policies, key regional value chains and agricultural investment follows. This work needs to be deepened in future to better understand the variations, similarities and core trends at work in the region. Without this, it will be very hard to engage strategically on agriculture at a regional level, and farmer organisations will remain reactive, constantly behind the curve, reacting to and perhaps eventually documenting history instead of making it.

Following this regional overview, the study considers the basic structure and membership of SACAU and its key priorities. These priorities are building farmer organisation; regional markets, trade and value chains; financing of farmer organisations and value chains; and policy influence. The study concludes with some considerations on why small-scale farmers and their organisations might choose to join SACAU, and some thoughts for reflection.

Read here the study prepared by Stephen Greenberg in January 2013 for the Peoples' Dialogue.

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