A new phase for professional farmer organizations: IWA29:2019 is published!

AMEA is happy to announce that after a robust and multi-stakeholder consultation process, the 29th International Workshop Agreement (IWA29:2019) – Professional Farmer Organization – Guidelines – has been published by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).

IWA29 was initiated by AMEA in 2017 and led by ISO and the Dutch Standardization Agency, NEN. Over 250 individuals representing farmer organizations and other stakeholders working in the field of agriculture (among others capacity builders, donor organizations, national governments, agribusiness and private sector companies) took part in eight regional meetings and an online commenting and consultation process to identify a set of guidelines for professional farmer organizations. The main objective of this process was to provide a common language and understanding around the core capacities of professional farmer organizations.


The Guidelines describe the main characteristics of professional farmer organizations focusing on business management and leadership skills. By implementing the guidelines, farmer organizations will be able to manage their operations more professionally and perform better over time. It is expected that better performance will eventually lead to better financial results, improved production and increased customer and member satisfaction within farmer organizations. IWA29 describes the core capacities of a professional farmer organization through six key areas: Organization Purpose and Governance, Business Management, Human Resources Management, Financial Management, Community and Stakeholder Engagement, and Member Services and Business Activities.

"We believe that the guidelines for professional farmer organisations should be accessible and used by the many parties who interact with smallholder farmers. We hope that this document will be part of a common language that is used by private companies, banks, training providers and government agencies – all of whom have economic engagements with smallholder farmers. IWA 29 is an important means to increase the number of professional farmer organization in an effective way"

Alan Johnson, Chairman of the AMEA Board

The Guidelines support the achievement of many Sustainable Development Goals, namely SDG1: No Poverty, SDG2: Zero Hunger, SDG8: Decent Work and Economic Growth, SDG12: Responsible Consumption and Production and SDG17: Partnerships for the Goals.


AMEA has developed a detailed overview of IWA 29, available here. The complete IWA 29 may be obtained through the ISO Online Browsing Platform or through your ISO National Standards Body.


Next steps: Testing and possible upgrade to a standard

After the publication of the Guidelines, AMEA’s activities will include promotion of IWA29 and testing the guidelines in practice. In two to three years, participating stakeholders will be asked to make a decision on whether to embark on a journey to develop a full ISO standard from this IWA.


Please contact us at info@ameaglobal.org if you would like to know more about the Guidelines.