Social Capacity-Building

Agricultural cooperatives are key to reducing hunger and poverty

Cooperatives offer opportunities that smallholders could not achieve individually 

FAO Press Release, 31 October 2011, Rome

Access of the poor to agricultural services

"This dossier is about the role of rural producers' organizations in inclusive innovation systems; it focuses on the role that farmers’ organizations play in enhancing the poorest farmers’ access to agricultural advisory services such as research, training, advice and extension."

June 2010,

Promoting Local Innovation in Agriculture

 World Bank IK Note on promoting local innovation

 Prolinnova also has a series of booklets. Consider

- Recognising local innovation

- Farmer-led joint research (

Policy brief: ”Tapping the energy of farmers' creativity”

Several other policy briefs on the topic can be found under

Brigid Letty et al's chapter "Farmers take the lead in research and development" in the WorldWatch book on State of the World 2011

Information specifically about promoting local innovation in South Africa can be found at


Participatory Innovation Development, PID

Training materials on PID, published by AGRIDEA:

Cracking the Nut

Harnessing the Power of Savings and Lending Communities to Drive Agroenterprise Development in Ghana

by Robert Asambobillah. Paper presented at the Cracking the Nut Conference: Overcoming Obstacles to Rural and Agricultural Finance. Washington. 6/2011.

The paper documents an innovative approach to building farmer skills in financial management through savings-led micro-finance interventions that are explicitly linked to extension services provided by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture. The approach contributes to resolving two critical obstacles faced by smallholder farmers in Northern Ghana: access to credit and technical advisory services.Click to download


Briefing Papers

Multiple Skills for Farmer Groups

Providing farmer groups with the skill sets they need – rather than just one – is different from the usual development approaches, and vital for empowering farmers to stimulate development for themselves at the local level. This poster looks at how combining skills sets can help farmers engage with markets and pull themselves out of poverty. This poster was presented at CRS’ Holistic Innovations in Agriculture Programming Symposium, held in Washington D.C. on April 20, 2009.

Download a PDF   Click to read more ...  Watch video ...

Advice Manual for the Organisation of Collective Marketing Activities by Small-Scale Farmers

A step-by-step manual designed to help development agency staff lead smallholder farmers to use group marketing strategies that can increase the value of the goods they sell.

Download a PDF

Preparing Farmer Groups to Engage Successfully with Markets

A Field Guide to Five Key Skill Sets

This field guide provides pointers for program managers and field staff on how to foster several crucial skill sets for preparing groups of poor farmers who are at a very early stage of engaging with markets and who aspire to successful agroenterprise development.

Download a PDF

Click to read more ...

Strengthening Organizational Capacity to Enhance Community Food Security

In Niger, CRS is engaging in a partnership process with Caritas Développement Niger (CADEV) that illustrates important principles of CRS partnership. CRS believes that investing in the partnership, and basing that partnership on mutual trust and accountability, will result in a stronger CADEV better able to assist communities to solve their own issues. In 2005-2006, CRS supported CADEV’s organizational strengthening efforts: developing an organizational improvement plan and increasing the capacity of field agents, volunteers, community members. Both the partnership between CRS and CADEV-Niger and the capacity strengthening efforts continued after the initial project, as a demonstration of CRS’s dedication to partnership and CADEV-Niger’s commitment to local ownership and sustainability.   Maryce Ramsey, Linda Gamova, and Carrie Miller        Download a PDF

  • IIED. Appreciative Inquiry for Rural Development. International Institute for Environment and Development. London, UK.

Selected Resources from FAO

Gender sensitive participatory approaches to building producer organizations (FAO)

Lessons Learned

  • Not without men. Creation of the women’s wing of the Federation of Farmers' Organizations of Andhra Pradesh (FFA-AP) in India. By Coby Meyboom, Ira Stam and Géke Appeldoorn

The process of the creation of a Women’s Wing within the Federation of Farmers' Organizations of Andhra Pradesh (FFA-AP) started in 2008, when the board made the official decision to establish a special Women’s Wing within the structure of the federation. In this process three [...]

  • Gender mainstreaming in value chain development: Experience of gender action learning system in Uganda, by Linda Mayoux, Janet Biira, Paineto Baluku and Thies Reemer

GALS is a structured community-led empowerment methodology aiming at ‘constructive economic, social and political transformation’. GALS originated in a generic methodology for livelihood development: Participatory Action Learning System (PALS) developed by Linda Mayoux. It which started [...]

  • SEWA’s organizational model: empowering small-scale women farmersby Denis Herbel and Reema Nanavaty

Indian agriculture employs almost 60% of the population. The female share in agriculture exceeds those of males, as 72.8 % of women are involved in agriculture activities compared to 48.9% of men . Small and marginal farmers account for about 82% of total farmers in the country. For small-scale [...]

  • Positive experiences of working women trade unionists of the Banana Unions and the Agro-industrial sector Coordination COLSIBA, by Iris Munguia

It was in early 1905 that the banana industry was settled in Honduras, created by Samuel Semurra. The first companies belonged to the Zemurray Hubbard Company; later, towards the beginning of the first world war, the United Fruit Company acquired 35% of the shares of the second [...]

  • Promising Practices: How cooperatives work for working women in Africa, by ILO CoopAfrica

In Africa, cooperatives can and do work for working women. Regardless of the sector they belong to or the types of cooperative they represent – whether marketing, financial, workers’, or housing, for instance - cooperatives are powerful vehicles of social inclusion and political and [...]

  • Gender equity in Rural Producers' Organizations (RPOs), by Mauro Bottaro

Women make essential contributions to agriculture and rural economic activities in all developing countries. The vast majority of food production attributable to women makes them the principle agents of food security and household welfare in rural areas. Yet, despite their central role in the [...]