The draft study “Transformations, challenges and opportunities for family farming in Niger” was presented in a workshop held on the 7 September 2015 in IFAD, and WAW participated as one of the speakers. Marie-Aude Even (WAW) and Paolo Groppo (FAO) made a presentation on experiences gathered from the WAW network on the role of typology assessment and monitoring systems to inform policy (see presentation). The workshop confirmed the interest and added value of detailed assessment of family farming to inform better targeting of policy and investments. It suggested among others the need to further develop a national typology articulated to local typology and to provide more in-depth assessment of different types of holdings. Such in-depth referential of farms could also facilitate ongoing discussions on climate change adaptation or on viability thresholds of farms. Also, many questions were raised on the development of “patronal farms” and their possible positive or negative implications on family farms. The workshop highlighted the need to reinforce the capacities of farmers’ organizations to better participate to policy. Finally, the importance of regional and sub-regional policy context was mentioned as well as the lack of explicit national policy supportive of family farms. Supporting regional policy dialogue on such typology of farms, their contributions to sustainable development and their transformations could help bringing forward family farming in regional and national policy agenda and encourage further initiatives to improve monitoring systems to better take into account diversity of holdings.
Based on such initial work and recommendations made during the workshop, WAW formulated an initial concept note for the development of a “WAW Observatory” in Niger, as part of the expansion of the WAW network supported by IFAD. Further steps will include the recruitment of national partners to elaborate further a detailed program of action in strong consultation with national stakeholders.