AFA participates in policy dialogue on agricultural research

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AFA farmer leaders and staff joined the High Level Policy Dialogue on Investment in Agricultural Research for Sustainable Development in Asia and the Pacific organized by APAARI in collaboration with ACIAR, DOA, Thailand, FAO-RAP, GFAR and IFPRI on 8-9 December 2015 in Bangkok.

The Policy Dialogue aimed to promote investment in agricultural research and innovation for sustainable development through appropriate policies, strategies and actions.

A GCARD3 social reporter posted this about one of the informal sessions between AFA representatives and researchers during the conference: http://blog.gfar.net/2015/12/10/the-revolution-happens-in-the-hall-and-over-half-empty-cups-of-tea/

In the News: Farmer-Scientist Group, Petitioners Won Case Against Bt Eggplant

(Note: PAKISAMA, AFA member in the Philippines, is a member of the NO2GMO coalition)

Baños, Laguna – After almost four years of litigation, farmers and consumers can finally have peace of mind knowing that their eggplant, commonly known as talong, will now be safe from genetic modification. Yesterday, the Supreme Court has permanently stopped the field testing of Bt talong, an eggplant variety genetically engineered to produce its own toxin. Apart from permanently stopping the field testing of Bt talong, it also declared the Department of Agriculture’s administrative order No. 8-2002 null and void resulting to a halt on the application for field testing, contained use, propagation and importation of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) pending the promulgation of a new administrative order. Continue reading In the News: Farmer-Scientist Group, Petitioners Won Case Against Bt Eggplant

AFA and FAO sign MOU

afa fao signing

The Asian Farmers’ Association for Sustainable Rural Development (AFA) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the UN signed a Memorandum of Understanding last November 26 in Bangkok, Thailand.

The MoU provides a framework for cooperation between the Parties with an overall goal of supporting countries to strengthen capacities of of farmers’ organizations to improve organizational development, service delivery, market access, good governance on land, gender equality, lobbying and advocacy for policy change in the Asia and the Pacific region.

(In the photo is AFA Chairperson Shimpei Murakami and FAO ADG Kundhavi Kadiresan)

SOURCE: http://www.fao.org/asiapacific/representative/photos/en/

Aliansi Petani Indonesia hosts World Rural Forum’s Asia-Pacific Desk in Jakarta

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Jakarta, Indonesia, 4 November 2015 — Following the 5th Global Conference with the theme “Let’s Build The Future: Family Farming” held in Bilbao last 21-24 September 2015, the World Rural Forum (WRF) has set up its Asia-Pacific Desk in Indonesia and appointed Dr. Daniel Ruiz de Garibay as the Asia-Pacific Sector Coordinator.

Aliansi Petani Indonesia (API) will host the desk in its National Secretariat office in Jakarta.

Today, API held a warm official welcome meeting with Dr. Daniel in his new office.

“We introduced each other, telling our experience with WRF (during IYFF 2014), the latest event we participated in Bilbao, and a brief explanation of our plan (the National Committee of FF in Indonesia),” said Ika Krishnayanti, International Relations Staff of API.

“API is glad that Indonesia National Committee of Family Farming and WRF have joined forces in favor of family farming in Indonesia and in the region,” she added.

(Issue Paper) Challenges and Opportunities in Promoting VGGT to Secure Tenure Rights of Family Farmers

issue paper cover vggtChallenges and Opportunities in Promoting VGGT to Secure Tenure Rights of Family Farmers, AFA Issue Paper, Volume 7, Number 3, September 2015

Ma Win of a small village in Myanmar is anxious. An officer of the Forest Department has asked her and co-villagers to move out of the village, based on a piece of paper saying that the 700-acre land
where they were staying, has been granted to the wife of a high ranking officer. Since 2000, she and co-villagers have been growing beans, lemons, pineapples, papaya and vegetables. From the nearby forests they have extracted fuel wood, medicinal plants and bamboo shoots. The villagers have long ago understood that the land was unclassified public forest. But now the officer said that the land had been reclassified as a wasteland and thus could be given to a private individual. If they leave, where will they go? Will her family survive? Today, some of the village leaders will be filing a complaint to the President. Will the President listen to their complaint? Will they be granted the right to stay in the village?

Published by AFA with support from the International Land Coalition (ILC)

Download a PDF copy

(Issue Paper) Seeing the Forests and the Farms Together: Promoting the Rights and Livelihoods of Forest and Farm Producers in Asia

issue paper cover fffSeeing the Forests and the Farms Together: Promoting the Rights and Livelihoods of Forest and Farm Producers in Asia, AFA Issue Paper, Volume 7, Number 2, August 2015

There is a very close relationship between forestry and farming. Both forests and farms are source of food (both from plants and animals), nutrition, health, and livelihoods for family farmers. Besides, forests provide sources for fuel, energy, water and medicines. Forests beautify and contribute to biodiversity in a particular landscape.

Many women and men farmers in Asia live inside or near forest areas and as such, are also engaged in gathering and producing food, wood and other products from the forests. Moreover, they plant their crops near forests, and often strive to augment their incomes by engaging in farm as well as forest-based production and services. Many people who live inside forests are also into farming. Out of 17 member organizations in 13 countries of the Asian Farmers’ Association (AFA), 10 member organizations in nine (9) countries have members or partner farmer groups living inside or near forests.

This issue paper looks at the situation of farmers living inside or near forest areas, i.e. in forested landscapes. It examines the challenges confronting forest and farm producers in Asia, and presents their initiatives and recommendations on how to address these challenges. The content of this paper is drawn from the output of nine national consultation workshops (done by AFA members in Indonesia, Philippines, Cambodia, Myanmar, Vietnam, Nepal, Mongolia, Bangladesh, Kyrgyztan) participated by 250 persons, as well as from a regional sharing and learning session wherein 52 representatives from 15 AFA member organizations and partners in 12 countries participated.

According to FAO, “farm and forest producers are women and men, smallholder families, indigenous peoples and local communities who have strong relationships with forests and farms in forested landscapes. Such producers grow, manage, harvest and process a wide range of natural resource-based goods and services for subsistence use and for sale in local, national or international markets.”

Published by AFA with support from the Forest and Farm Facility

Click here to download a PDF copy

(Issue Paper) A Viable Future: Attracting the Youth to Agriculture

issue paper cover youthA Viable Future: Attracting the Youth to Agriculture, AFA Issue Paper, Volume 7. Number 1, June 2015

Youth is often the time when a person starts to dream of the future, think of the path to take and boldly and aggressively set his/her life in motion. In many rural villages, to be a farmer is not part of this
dreamt future. Farming is a lowly job and does not earn, so better migrate to cities or abroad where there may be more opportunities and adventure. What will then be the future of agriculture and food
without young farmers? No farmer, no food. No food, no life.

In this issue paper, we will discuss why young people are not attracted to agriculture, what are the initiatives being taken to encourage the youth to be in agriculture, and what are the recommendations for the youth to stay in it. The discussions here is a consolidation of (a) the results of the national consultations and participatory researches conducted by AFA members in 9 countries involving around 660 rural youth on the issue “attracting the youth to agriculture” using the Farmers Advocacy Consultation Tool (FACT) developed by Agriterra; (b) the results of the regional consultation involving 30 men and 10 women representatives, from 17 national farmer organizations in 13 countries held last May 2014
and (c) desk research and literature review. AFA conducted these consultations during the celebration of the International Year of Family Farming (IYFF), since youth in agriculture is one of
its IYFF priority issues.

Published by AFA with support from Agriterra.

AFA holds regional knowledge sharing workshop on sustainable agro-enterprises and services to members

IMG_1680AFA organized the “Regional Knowledge Sharing and Learning Workshop on Sustainable Agri- Enterprise Models and Strategies for National FOs Programs and Services to Members” last September 6-8, 2015 in Quezon City, Philippines.  Joining the workshop were AFA members, partners and support organizations. The objective of the workshop was to improve the capacities of AFA national FO members in extending services to its members/farmers’ associations particularly in managing sustainable agro-enterprises.  Specifically, the objectives were to (1) share and learn different models or approaches of extending economic services of national farmer organizations to their members, based on cases/experiences presented and advise from experts; (2) identify areas for improvement of existing models or approaches of AFA Members in extending services and programs related to the enterprises; and (3) develop guidelines or tips which the national farmer organizations can use when extending economic services to members. This regional workshop was supported by Collectif Strategies Alimentaires, an agri-agency based in Brussels, Belgium.

The workshop composed of presentations of scoping research (from Indonesia, Vietnam and Philippines), sharing of experiences (from other members in Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, Cambodia and Mongolia) and discussions of challenges, reflections and lessons on how to improve their existing mechanisms as well as strategies to effectively and efficiently extend enterprise–related services to members.

There were three major enterprise services discussed: technical/business development services, financial intermediation and marketing services.  1) Technical or BDS is an integral part of any type of economic services to members, from the preparatory or start-up of enterprise operation and during implementation to ensure that the enterprise plans are implemented accordingly. Technical services should respond to the needs of leaders and staff as well as members to ensure common understanding on the objectives of the organization and enterprise, roles and responsibilities as well as benefits to members and enterprise of the organization. (2) Financial intermediation includes financing/lending, savings and credit.  These are some of the financial services that directly support and benefit the members. The role of national FOs is crucial in establishing this kind of service to members to ensure that the members are capable of operating and managing efficiently.  FNN, for example, provides training of leaders and staff (technical and exposure trip to successful farmers group) who are planning to establish savings and credit service to members.  In addition, as an accompaniment during the start-up operation, technical support is needed to ensure that policies and systems are followed accordingly. (3) Marketing services include linking to appropriate market of farmers’ product (e.g. FNN –CEDAC; API to link APOLLI to market both domestic and export, SIDC, GLOWCorp, etc).  This helps farmers directly benefit from premium price and assured market of farmers’ produce.

Results show that FOs of different typologies (cooperatives, whether primary, federation or apex organizations, associations e.g. union, individual or organization, and corporation), perform different roles/services depending on the need and demand of its members.   Services vary depending on the capacity both financial and human resources of the organization. SIDC provides full services (in the value chain: production inputs, technical, monitoring and marketing). GLOWCorp focused on marketing of organic products, NATCCO provides financial services that include technical, hardware and investment to start up their lending/ microfinance.  VNFU, API, BINADESA, IOA, WAMTI and SPI extend technical-related services on business and link them to financing and their products to market. FNN extends services to members in establishing their savings and credit groups to generate own capital for production; and link them also to market to assure them better price of their products. The performance of enterprise depends on the capacity of FOs in terms of managing the enterprise and financial/capitalization. Generally, they start small, expand and diversify later.

FOs provide technical services to its members in establishing and managing their own enterprises by capacitating the leaders and staff through skills training, coaching or accompaniment, exposure to other successful FOs managing similar enterprises, and values re-orientation of members as well. In addition, FOs (with or without the support from other partners) are extending services in the installation of internal control system (GLOWCorp, IOA), technical, financial system and monitoring of lending, savings and credit services (NATCCO, FNN-CEDAC, SIDC).

Moreover, farmers have access and assured market of their produce when they are organized and directly engaged in marketing (the case of SIDC, VNFU, GLOWCorp, API-APOLLI, FNN-CEDAC). They can further negotiate better terms and conditions with the market if they are informed about the market situation and industry trends.

FOs when they are strong (with track records) can better access (or leverage) government support programs and services such as research and development, value-adding activities (the case of TWADA and TDFA in Taiwan) as well as infrastructure support to improve product quality (of farmers) and ensure food safety (of consumers).

FOs themselves cannot provide all services needed by their members.  FOs can leverage government and other development organization e.g. production and marketing capital, and support in the promotion of farmers ‘products through trade fair and product exhibits (GLOWCorp, IOA, VNFU, SIDC, etc.). Thus, FOs services can further enhance and expand if:

  • FOs can generate own capital through savings and credit program as a mechanism to generate and increase own capitalization;
  • Financing services like extending loan to members should include savings program. By doing so, this entails proper orientation and training of members to fully understand the savings mechanism as a strategy of generating own capital for expanding or diversifying economic activities. The government can provide support through training support and/or exposure of farmers to see its benefits to the lives of farmers.
  • Government and other development organization could support and invest in capacity building of leaders and staff of FOs to help them establish, manage and sustain own enterprises as well as expand or replicate in other areas/groups; also financing and marketing support to enable FOs to extend more services to members and create employment opportunities.
  • Government plays an important role in providing support and enabling environment where FOs can better engage with the market and specific industry value chain in general. This includes market infrastructure support such as pricing system and information, industry trend and situation at the local and international market, etc. Policy and program support services includes technical and financing both for production, processing and marketing.
  • Private sector on the other hand can also support farmers by directly sourcing-out product from farmers/FOs (shorten the chain) and invest directly to FOs or through government programs in support of farmers/FOs.

Time to Listen to Indigenous Peoples, Local Communities, and Small holder Forest and Farm Producers

IMG_0255This is the main call from the declaration of participants of the workshop “Building Momentum for Action for Community Based Forestry, Forest and Farm Producer Organizations” held September 5-6 in Durban, South Africa, one of the pre-congress events of the World Forestry Congress. The pre-congress was organized by partners of the Forest and Farm Facility ( FAO, IUCN and IIED). The workshop’s steering committee  comprised their  international and regional partners, including  AFA. In the workshop, Ms. Le Y Voan from Vietnam Farmers Union presented the highlights of their work on farmers in forested landscapes, while AFA Secretary General presented the main policy and program agenda that came out from AFA’s regional consultation last August in Myanmar, as well as the case of the Task Force Anti -APECO in the Philippines as a successful case of influencing national policy.

Click here for the press release

Click here for the conference declaration

FNN members featured in Asia Pacific local champions exhibition

champions

Cambodian farmers belonging to Farmer and Nature Net (FNN), an AFA member organization in Cambodia, and also one of FOs participating in the Asia Pacific Farmers’ Forum supported by MTCP2, participated in the Asia Pacific champions exhibition at the Royal University of Agriculture in Phnom Penh on Auust 20-12. They joined other MTCP2 delegates from South Asia/ANPFa, Pacific/Tonga Growers Federation, Southeast Asia/LFN/CFAP/FNN. Continue reading FNN members featured in Asia Pacific local champions exhibition

AFA to participate in Local Champions Fair in Asia Pacific

AFA will take part in the Asia-Pacific Local Champions Exhibition to be held at the Royal Agriculture University of Cambodia in Phnom Penh on August 10-12.

The exhibition is organized by The Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry of Cambodia, the International Fund for Agriculture Development and PROCASUR.

The First Asia-Pacific Local Champions Exhibition brings together local champions with the public sector, universities, NGOs and cooperation agencies. Continue reading AFA to participate in Local Champions Fair in Asia Pacific

Asian farmers share experiences in VGGT popularization

vggt banner

Asian farmer leaders gather in Yangon, Myanmar for the “Regional Sharing Workshop on Popularizing the VGGT to Secure Rights to Family Farmers” on 5-7 August 2015 organized by the Asian Farmers Association for Sustainable Rural Development (AFA) and hosted by the Agriculture and Farmer Federation Myanmar (AFFM) with support from the International Land Coalition (ILC). Continue reading Asian farmers share experiences in VGGT popularization

AFA holds regional conference on forest and farms

The Asian Farmers’ Association for Sustainable Rural Development will hold the event “Regional Sharing Workshop Building our Agenda for Farmers in Forested Landscapes” on August 2-3, 2015 in Yangon, Myanmar. The event will be hosted by its member, the Agriculture and Farmer Federation Myanmar (AFFM) with support from the FAO-Forest and Farm Facility (FFF). Continue reading AFA holds regional conference on forest and farms

A Viable Future: Attracting the Youth to Agriculture


youth issue paper cover photo

Youth is often the time when a person starts to dream of the future, think of the path to take and boldly and aggressively set his/her life in motion. In many rural villages, to be a farmer is not part of this dreamt future . Farming is a lowly job and does not earn, so better migrate to cities or abroad where there may be more opportunities and adventure. What will then be the future of agriculture and food without young farmers? No farmer, no food. No food, no life.

In this issue paper, we will discuss why young people are not attracted to agriculture, what are the initiatives being taken to encourage the youth to be in agriculture, and what are the recommendations for the youth to stay in it. The discussions here is a consolidation of (a) the results of the national consultations and participatory researches conducted by AFA members in 9 countries involving around 660 rural youth on the issue “attracting the youth to agriculture” using the Farmers Advocacy Consultation Tool (FACT) developed by Agriterra; (b) the results of the regional consultation involving 30 men and 10 women representatives, from 17 national farmer organizations in 13 countries held last May 2014 and (c) desk research and literature review. AFA conducted these consultations during the celebration of the International Year of Family Farming (IYFF), since youth in agriculture is one of its IYFF priority issues.

Download a PDF copy (English)

Translations: Indonesia | Mongolia | Philippines | Bangladesh | Japan | Kyrgyztan | Thailand | Taiwan | Vietnam | Cambodia | Nepal | Myanmar

 

Building Sustainable Full Value-Chain Agri-based Cooperative Enterprises in the Philippines

unnamed25-27 June 2015— Forty-six leaders and staff were trained on Farmers Advocacy Consultation Tool (FACT) for use in accessing more funds for their agricultural projects through Bottom Up Budgeting (BUB) and other lobby and advocacy issues. Organized by PAKISAMA, in partnership with AFA, Agriterra, FSSI, and PEF; this activity is vital to PAKISAMA’s program on “Building Sustainable Full Value-Chain Agri-based Cooperative Enterprises in the Philippines” to help strengthen its member cooperatives’ capacity to provide full value-chain support to their individual members and influence national and government programs and policies along this approach.

Lessons from Nature: A guide to Ecological Agriculture in the Tropics (Shimpei Murakami)

cover photo lessons from nature

Published in 1991, this practical and insightful book is still as relevant as ever. The author, Shimpei Murakami, who is now AFA’s Chairperson, has shared a PDF copy for the public. Click here to download.

From the Foreword: “This book, Lessons from Nature by Mr. Shimpei Murakami is a praiseworthy attempt to explore the rules and principle’s of nature and how these could be better understood and applied to develop an alternative agricultural system which is not only wholesome, but also sustainable. His long working experience in Japan and 3 years experience at the Ecological Farm of Proshika has made this book very practice-oriented and at the same time, he explains meticulously, the ecological principles behind each practice. As this book is written in the context of Bangladesh, it may be the only book suitable for practitioners of ecological agriculture in Bangladesh. Apart from this, it will be an excellent resource for environmentalist who will find very good reading how agricultural resources – soil, water, biodiversity etc. – are damaged by chemical agriculture. Unlike many books on the environment, this book does not stop at describing the problems only. Mr. Murakami describes in detail the alternatives and give rational hints for practice. Above all, after reading this book, one is left with a feeling of optimism, that viable alternatives to the monumental damage to the environment exist. He proves, not theoretically but practically, that ecological agriculture is not only environmentally friendly, but also more productive and sustainable than chemical agriculture. Anyone reading this book will be convinced that ecological agriculture is based on the superior science of nature and, therefore, it is the way for the future.” ( Qazi Faruque Ahmed Executive Director PROSHIKA”)

Women’s Land Rights, Gender-Responsive Policies and the World Bank (Philippines)

womens land conference 2015
Equity @resourceequity_Violeta Corral of PAKISAMA (left) – @PAKISAMA:Women must be empowered with knowledge of laws/policies, so they can assert their rights. womensland #LandConf2015

By Violeta P. Corral, Pambansang Kilusan ng mga Samahang Magsasaka (PAKISAMA)

PAKISAMA participated at the 16th Annual World Bank Conference on Land and Poverty held on March 23–27, 2015 at the World Bank Headquarters in Washington D.C. Organized by the Bank’s Development Economic Research Group (DECRG), the conference is a key global event which fosters dialogue and sharing of best practices among representatives from governments, civil society, academia, the development community, and the private sector on the diversity of reforms, approaches and experiences that are being implemented in land sectors around the world.  The theme for 2015 “Linking Land Tenure and Use for Shared Prosperity” highlights the effects of land tenure in the distribution of assets between men and women, generations, and social groups, and how patterns of land use will have far-reaching implications for welfare and other socioeconomic outcomes at household, community, or landscape level. PAKISAMA’s participation was made possible with travel support from the International Land Coalition (ILC). Continue reading Women’s Land Rights, Gender-Responsive Policies and the World Bank (Philippines)

Empowering small scale women and men farmers in Asia