Empowering Farmers and Their Organizations through the Creation of Social Capital

Social capital is a key factor that concerns the ability of people to cooperate for common goals. What we have learned over the past decades, from organizational experiences in developing countries and countries in transition, is that physical and human capital accumulation by itself is not sufficient to induce development. Investments in physical capital (infrastructure and equipment) and human capital (skills development) are necessary conditions, but they are far from sufficient; they need to be complemented with the development of social capital (Stiglitz, 1998). This Learning Guide for Trainers focuses on “Empowering farmers through the creation of social capital,” recognizing the fundamental role that social capital plays for healthy and sustainable organizations. Encouraging farmers and their groups to form associations or federations enhances their capacities to learn from each other, exchange reliable information about what works and what does not work, and monitor the accountability of their members.