A group of 5 WFO Members’ representatives from African countries, including NAAC (Uganda), INGABO (Rwanda), ZFU (Zimbabwe), KENAFF (Kenya), RIAD (Cote d’Ivoire), and COFAG (Ghana), accompanied by Ambra Raggi, the WFO Member Engagement Manager​, visited Japan from January 21 to February 3 to attend a training course titled “Capacity Building of Farmers to Respond to Challenges through Development of Agricultural Cooperatives”.

The course was organized by the Institute for the Development of Agricultural Cooperation in Asia (IDACA) and the International Co-operative Alliance (ICA) in collaboration with the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture and WFO.

The in-person course followed a period of training where WFO Members got the chance to follow lessons online and develop an action plan to strengthen cooperatives in their home countries.
While in Japan, participants learned first-hand about Japanese organised agriculture and how to establish and strengthen businesses and studied Japan’s current practices of environment-friendly and sustainable agriculture.

The first week the group visited JA (Japan Agriculture) cooperatives in the Chiba prefecture and three farms operating in the horticulture sector. This gave them a chance to learn about Japanese agriculture firsthand.
During the second week of the training course, the participants delved deeper into cooperative development, with a particular emphasis on financing and shared experiences of cooperative development in Africa.

A special closing ceremony was held to celebrate the achievements of the participants, who were awarded a certificate of completion. The ceremony featured the participation of several distinguished speakers, including Dr Andrea Porro, the Secretary General of WFO; Mr Balasubramanian Iyer, the Regional Director of the International Co-operative Alliance for Asia and the Pacific (ICA-AP); Mr Daisuke Asano, the Counsellor of the Emerging Region Division at the Export and International Affairs Bureau of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of Japan (MAFF); Mr Toshihiko Baba, the Senior Executive Director of the Central Union of Agricultural Cooperatives (JA Zenchu); Mr Hirofumi Kobayashi, the Executive Director of The Institute for the Development of Agricultural Cooperation in Asia (IDACA); Ms Michiko Sato and Ms Azumi Yoshioka, officials in charge of the ICA-Japan project from the Emerging Regions Division of MAFF.

This transformative training course exemplifies the commitment of the World Farmers’ Organisation (WFO) to fostering a global community of farmers. By facilitating such capacity-building programs that connect farmers’ organisations worldwide, WFO is working towards a future where farmers are more resilient and empowered.

Thanks to this continuous peer-to-peer exchange and collaborative efforts with other stakeholders in the agricultural value chain, farmers can contribute to building a more sustainable and equitable world for all.