What is IFAP ? (1996)

   This document has been made available in electronic format  
            by the Committee for the Promotion and 
               Advancement of Cooperatives COPAC


                      WHAT IS IFAP?

Founded in 1946, the International Federation of Agricultural
Producers is the international organization of the worlds 
farmers.  It is the only worldwide body grouping together
nationally representative general farmers' organizations. IFAP
is financed and governed by its member organizations.

Objectives and Role

IFAP was established to secure the fullest co-operation between
organizations of agricultural primary producers in meeting the
optimum nutritional and consumptive requirements of the peoples
of the world and in improving the economic and social status of
all who live by and on the land.

This objective of IFAP is pursued in four ways:

     (i)    By acting as a forum in which leaders of national
     farmers' organizations can meet to

          - highlight mutual interests and take co-ordinated  
            action to further such interests;
          - develop an understanding of world problems; and
          - exchange information and ideas.

     (ii)   By keeping members informed about international
     events and issues of concern to them as farmers

     (iii)  By acting as the recognized spokesman for the worlds
     farmers, bringing the concerns of agricultural producers to
     the attention of international meetings of governments, and
     other bodies.

     (iv)   By promoting the creation and strengthening of
     independent, representative organizations of agricultural
     producers throughout the world.


To qualify for membership in IFAP, an organization must be
substantially representative of farmers at the national level.
There are basically three types of organization in membership:
general farmers organizations, federations of farmer  
co-operatives, and chambers of agriculture.

In 1996, there are in membership 82 organizations from 58
countries, including 28 developing countries. IFAP also 
maintains a working relationship with a number of farmers
organizations at various stages of development throughout the
world which are not yet members of the Federation.

IFAP includes in its membership farmers working under very
different conditions, from large commercial farmers to the
virtually subsistence farmer. And yet all farmers find a common
bond sufficiently strong to belong to the same international

The one link which is common to the vast majority of IFAPs
members, large or small, is their attachment to the family farm,
the unit which, is managed and run by a farmer and his family,
with possibly some hired help. IFAP represents virtually all the
agricultural producers in the industrialized countries, and
several hundred million farmers in the developing countries.

Services provided to members

The World Farmers Congress, the General Conference of IFAP, which

brings together the farmers of the world every two years to:

     - examine the major problems facing agriculture worldwide, 
       and jointly seek solutions to these problems;

     - establish ties of friendship and solidarity among the 
       farmers organizations of the world;

     - identify the priority actions of the Federation over the 
       next two years;

     - deal with constitution and membership questions; and 

     - elect the office-holders of IFAP.

IFAP Meetings on Major Issues, where usually every six months
members come together to work on a major issue. For example:

     - Partnerships to strengthen farmers' organizations

     - Strengthening links between farmers, agricultural
       research and extension services

     - Farming for sustainable development

     - Commodities, trade and the environment

IFAP Specialized meetings, of commodity groups, regional
committees and other specialized committees. These specialized
meetings take place either just prior to IFAP General Conference,
or in the year between two General Conferences, or frequently 
at both these times.

Commodity groups

     o Group on Grains         
     o Group on Dairy Products    
     o Group on Meats and Feeds  
     o World Association of Sugar Beet and Cane Growers 

Regional Committees

     o African Regional Committee 
     o European Joint Committee (CEFICO)
     o Pacific Regional Committee 
     o Mediterranean Regional Committee 
     o Farmers of the Americas Conference

Standing Committees

     o Standing Committee on Agriculture in Developing Countries
     o Standing Committee on Agricultural Cooperatives
     o Standing Committee on Women in Agriculture 

Other Committee

     o Committee on Development Cooperation  

IFAP Documentation and information service receives and analyses
currently more than 300 international periodicals from member
organizations and other sources, covering such subjects as:
agricultural policy, trade issues, commodity market trends and
statistics, rural economy and sociology, farming systems, 
co-operatives, rural development issues. It also maintains an
up-to-date collection of directories of agricultural information
sources.  A full-time documentalist handles requests for

IFAP publications


     IFAP Monitoring
          regular summaries and analysis of the conclusions of
          important international meetings, 

     IFAP Newsletter
          update on the activities of IFAP and its member
          organizations (six issues per year)
     IFAP Info-flash
          monthly news faxsheet

     World Farmers Times
          magazine of the World Farmers Times Foundation in
          Zurich, Switzerland, edited by IFAP. It reviews and
          discusses agricultural issues worldwide (six issues
          per year)

     World Sugar Farmers News
          specialized newsletter of the World Association of
          Sugar Beet and Cane Growers (four issues per year).


     Proceedings of the General Conference
          every two years. The main policy document of IFAP. 
          Reports of the specialized  committees, commodity
          groups and plenary session debates; lists member
          organisations and office-holders.

     Proceeding of specialized meetings and conferences, 
          e.g. World Sugar Farmers Conferences, every three
          years; conferences on particular issues.

     Development Seminar Reports
          Starting in 1984, IFAP established a development
          publication series - reference bulletins outlining a
          basic strategy for farmers organizations based on
          papers and discussions at IFAP Seminars for farmers
          organizations from developing countries. Themes
          covered include guidelines for: development  projects,
          national agricultural pricing  policies, commodity
          marketing, sustainable farming systems, services of
          farmers organizations, etc.

Relations with other organizations

Consultative relations and close working contact with the major 
intergovernmental organizations active in the field of
agriculture and rural development. These contacts take the form

     - regular high-level consultations; and
     - collaboration at Secretariat level.

The international governmental organizations with which IFAP
works regularly include:

North American representation
o UN Economic and Social Council (IFAP has category 1
  consultative status)
o UN Commission for Sustainable Development
o World Bank

Rome representation
o Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations( FAO)
o International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)
o World Food Programme (WFP)

Paris hedquarters
o Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)
  including OECD Development Centre, and OECD Centre for
  Co-operation with European Economies in Transition Geneva

o UN Economic Commission for Europe (ECE)
o World Trade Organization (WTO)
o International Labour Organization (ILO)
o UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)
o Union for the Protection of Plant Variety Rights (UPOV)
o World Health Organization (WHO)
o World Meteorological Organization (WMO)

o Commonwealth Secretariat
o International Wheat Council
o International Sugar Organization
o International Coffee Organization
o International Cocoa Organization

o Council of Europe

o  U.N. Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO)

IFAP Development Program Services have been expanded during the
1980's with some autonomous resources and support from donor
agencies. These seek to reinforce the self-help efforts of
farmers' organizations from the grass-roots level upwards to more
effectively serve and represent their members, especially small
farmers and women producers. This program is being carried out

     - dissemination of information
     - regional workshops and training seminars
     - country projects

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