Kees Blokland is managing director of Agriterra. He was Vice-president of the Development Cooperation Committee (DCC) of IFAP from 2002 till 2006 and since June 2008 he has been Vice-president of AgriCord. In 1992, he became a PhD in Social Sciences (RU Leiden) based on a study on the relationship between the work that rural people’s organisations carry out and economic development. While working for FAO, he was an advisor to the National Union of Farmers and Cattle Breeders (UNAG). From 1990 till 1997, he had a working relationship with the Paulo Freire Foundation (PFS). He initiated the creation of the international platform for rural people’s organisations, Vía Campesina (Mons, 1993). The farmers credit bank in Nicaragua owes its foundation in 1994 thanks to his mediation, amongst others.
Where to start an economic transition? A proven approach is to start in the rural areas. Farmers’ organizations spur specialization, increasing employment and income.
Many small-scale farmers look for opportunities out of agriculture. The only way by doing this without increasing their food insecurity is rural employment. Farmer organisations can help, to spur up specialisation.