Agricultural Cooperatives:Tackling rural poverty by supporting small-scale farmers to grow their livelihoods
Seven out of ten people in rural Togo live in poverty. Many families live in precarious situations; lacking access to clean drinking water, electricity, health services, education and stable employment.
Whilst rural communities rely heavily on the income from small-scale agriculture to meet their basic needs, farmers, especially women, suffer from a lack of investment and support which restricts their ability to grow their livelihoods.
Many farmers lack access to financial services, such as credit, which prevents them from investing in essential inputs such as seeds, tools, land and labour. As a result, farmers work small plots of land using rudimentary tools and techniques, unable to produce enough to make a decent income.
Faced with the extra burden of coping with climate change and Covid-19, but without financial and technical support to do so, small-scale farmers in Togo are struggling to grow their livelihoods and protect their environment.
In 2020, we launched the Agricultural Cooperative programme which aims to alleviate rural poverty by investing in and improving the livelihoods of small-scale farmers living in the Maritime region of Togo.
Working with local partners and government, we equip farmers with the skills and knowledge to form self-led cooperatives. Being part of a cooperative enables farmers to access state services, training opportunities, to pool resources effectively and to work collectively to achieve bigger goals. We then provide the farmers with loans, to buy inputs, and fortnightly training to develop new skills, increase their agricultural productivity and income-earning potential.
Since nine out of ten rural families have no health protection and eight out of ten have no access to power, beneficiaries and their families are also provided access to our our healthcare insurance and clean energy programmes.
With the increasingly irregular rainfall and change in temperatures caused by climate change, small scale farmers are battling flooding and failed crops and damage to their environment.
Since small scale farmers rely on natural resources to sustain their livelihoods and well being, they have a vital role to play in protecting the land around them.
Together, with our partner in Togo, we have created a Farmers Field School which promotes the adoption of sustainable land management practices.
The training gives small holder farmers the knowledge to protect their land, forests and water, whilst improving their productivity and helping them to combat the effects of climate change and make sustainable, long-term positive change.