UNAC was established in 1987 to mobilize and organize people in rural areas to gain access to land. Since then, membership numbers have grown. Members are smallholders and farmers who only grow enough for their own consumption.
UNAC was one of the main players in the struggle for law regulating land rent in Mozambique. The organization encourages its member organizations to identify their local problems and are working to find solutions. They also work to influence government agricultural and land policy. UNAC links up with like-minded organizations and networks in other countries and participates and coordinates the work with the National Platform of Mozambique Civil Society, Poverty Observatories and the Land Forum. Internationally, UNAC is a member of Via Campesina and a partner in the network People's Dialogue.
Among UNAC guiding principles is democratic decision-making and membership organizations' independence. Their associations at district level represents, and are accountable to, associations and co-operatives of small farmers, while UNAC represents and is accountable towards associations at the regional level. Associations waiting to be formally approved have the status of commissions.
The role of associations and commissions is to mobilize and encourage farmers to organize themselves and to form associations, and then to offer organizational support. They inform members about legislation and agricultural policy, disseminate information, facilitate access to seeds, credit and markets and offer technical support. Their aim is that the farmers' challenges are taken seriously, and are representing their constituency in the local Consultative Council.
Because the rural areas are increasingly dominated by business development and investment opportunities, the associations are spending more and more time doing conflict prevention and finding resolutions to conflicts about land rights. Associations are spreading additional information to their members and society in general about the provisions on land ownership and collective rights in the Land Law.
To become a better watchdog against the negative effects that economic development has on their constituencies, UNAC have requested that Norwegian People's Aid supports organizational strengthening for five of their associations in the northern and central provinces. These are: União Provincial de Camponeses the Tete (UPCT), União das Cooperative e AssociaçõesAgrícolas the Lichinga (UCA), União Provincial de Camponeses de Cabo Delgado (UPCD), UniãoGeral das CooperativasAgrícolas the Nampula (UGCAN) and União Provincial de Camponeses the manica (UCAM).