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Boerenbond continues to provide Congolese farmers with international voice
Boerenbond will continue to finance the WFO membership for the Congolese farmers’ association Conapac over the next two years. The two parties were brought together by Trias.
Trias has strengthened Congolese farmers' organisations since 1959. Now that the democratisation process is making cautious progress, Trias Congo has been investing in the development of a national network of farmers’ organisations. Trias was therefore present in 2011 for the birth of the National Farmers’ Association Conapac.
Farmers enter the debate
Two years ago in Kinshasa, the leaders of CONAPAC held exploratory talks with Boerenbond, Belgium’s largest farmers’ organisation, which quickly resulted in a deal. As Boerenbond had done before for the Brazilian farmers of Unicafes, they decided to finance Conapac’s membership of the World Farmers' Organisation (WFO). This arrangement has now been renewed by the presidents of Boerenbond and Conapac for another two years.
'It's on the international level that the important decisions are made,' Methusalem Paluku Mivimba, president of Conapac, said. 'The WFO offers us a platform where the voice of millions of Congolese farmers can be heard. Being able to participate on the international level gives the self-esteem of our farmers an enormous boost.'
According to Sonja De Becker, president of Boerenbond, farmers in Flanders and in Congo face the same challenges. 'We want to feed the world population in a way that is sustainable for both farmers and the environment. When discussing food production, farmers are often spoken about instead of being spoken to. Together with our colleagues in Congo we will take part in the debate and share the farmers’ perspective.'
Trias is very pleased that the agreement between Boerenbond and Conapac will be prolonged. 'This is not an act of charity,' said general director Lode Delbare. 'The contexts in which farmers operate are very different, but the fundamental challenges are the same. That is why we promote international collaboration between like-minded people. This is the new look of what we used to call development cooperation.'