Aliansi Petani Indonesia to work for greater self-sufficiency and sustainability

In a national leaders meeting held on April 21-23 in Jakarta, Aliansi Petani Indonesia formulated strategic actions to keep the farmer organization self-sufficient, sustainably managed and regenerated.

The meeting was attended by 21 member organizations of API from 14 provinces.

A coffee cupping session was also organized on the evening of the first day, where participants tasted different coffee varieties from famous places in the country and learned about methods to manage coffee beans to get a fair price in the market.

(Photos and report from Ika Krishnayanti)


AFA conducts cooperative development forum in Vietnam and Nepal

One of the five point priority agenda of the Asian Farmers Association for Sustainable Rural Development (AFA) is to build and strengthen farmers’ cooperatives and their enterprises that will give farmers a stronger involvement in value chains and increase their market power. Thus, AFA has established a Cooperative Development Program which aims to “build a strong and viable network of farmers’ cooperatives, owned and controlled by small scale family farmers, engaged in sustainable and growing business enterprises that leverage economies of scale.”

A starting point for the roadmap to building and strengthening farmers cooperatives is the conduct of Cooperative Development Forum at national level.

For the month of March, Cooperative Development Forum were conducted in Nepal and Vietnam.

afa agri coop nepal

[“Unlocking the Potentials of Agricultural Cooperatives to Deliver Services to the Small Scale Forest and Farm Producers in Nepal”, March 24, 2017, Kathmandu, Nepal. Photo by AFA.]

In Nepal, the workshop was entitled “Unlocking the Potentials of Agricultural Cooperatives to Deliver Services to the Small Scale Forest and Farm Producers in Nepal”, held last March 24, organized by AFA, with members National Land Rights Forum (NLRF) and Central Tea Cooperative Federation (CTCF), and AFA partner All Nepal Peasant Federations Association (ANPFA) with the support of FAO-Forest and Farm Facility. The workshop was attended by 51 participants from cooperatives, farmer organizations, non-goverment organizations and government ministries of cooperatives and rural development.

[“Knowledge and Experience of Agricultural Cooperatives in Vietnam and Delivery of Services to Accelerate their Growth and Development: Cooperative Development Forum”, March 27-29, 2017, Hanoi Vietnam. Photo by Nonoy Villas]

In Vietnam, the workshop was entitled: “Knowledge and Experience of Agricultural Cooperatives in Vietnam and Delivery of Services to Accelerate their Growth and Development: Cooperative Development Forum”, held last March 27-29, organized by Vietnam Farmers Union (VNFU), with Collectif Strategies Alimentaries (CSA), Asian Partnership for the Development of Human Resources in Rural Asia (AsiaDHRRA) and AFA. The workshop was attended by 64 participants representing leaders of cooperatives at commune, district and provincial levels, as well as national leaders of VNFU and the Vietnam Cooperative Alliance and their development partners and representatives from the Department of Cooperatives.

In both workshops, the policy environment for the agricultural/farmers cooperatives was initially examined, the initiatives of selected farmers’ cooperatives were shared, a strategy framework for cooperative development was presented, and the possible models and approaches of a national cooperative strategy was discussed.

Success Story (Cambodia): Toek Thla Samaki saving group

The Toek Thla Samaki saving group Toek Thla Village, Trapaing Krosaing Commune, Prey Kabas District Takeo Province was established in 2008 with 16 members and a saving capital of $40. With the support of AFOSP-MTCP2 through the Farmer and Nature Net in Cambodia starting 2014, the group conducted training and support from FNN staff and was able to increase its saving capital to $125,000 and its membership to 312 members. The provincial department of agriculture in Takeo got interested and invited the committee to give training and the group also got registered as a cooperative. Today, it has 661 members, 397 of which are women, and a saving capital of $300,000. Members get 1.7% interest on savings every month, loans are provided at 1.9 to 3% interest per month, and depositors get an interest of 12% per year.

“With the profit, the group contributes $15,000 to the institutional fund, $2,000 to the social fund, and $40 to $80 to the service committees. It also now closes its balance using a computer system.” — Chhong Sophal, Program Coordinator, FNN.


AFA Vice Chairperson receives prestigious RTV award in Bangladesh

Ms. Shazada Begum, President of Kendrio Krishak Moitree (KKM) and Vice President of the Asian Farmers’ Association (AFA), has been been honored with the “RTV Alokito Nari 2017″ (Enlightened Woman) award.

This is one of the most prestigious awards in Bangladesh that honors change makers like Shazada.

The private satellite TV channel RTV honored eight enlightened women marking International Women’s Day 2017.

The programme was held at the Bangabandhu International Conference Centre last March 9 and the title of the programme was “Joya Alokito Nari- 2017.”

In the eight categories, eight enlightened women received awards for their contribution and they are Professor Mahfuza Khanam (Education), Farida Parvin (Music), Shujata Azim (Acting, Film), Luna Samsuddin (IT), DIG Mili Biswas (Police), Shazada Begum (Agriculture),  Jubera Rahman Lini(Sports) and Sawkat Naznin Khan (Youth).

“RTV Alokito Nari” award has been going on since 2013 and this is first time they listed agriculture as one of the categories.

(With report and photos from ActionAid Bangladesh)

VNFU hosts high level exchange visit on land use with Nepal government and CSO


Hanoi, Vietnam — Vietnam Farmers Union (VNFU) hosted a high level study visit on Land Use with a six-person delegation from Nepal headed by Mr. Krishna Prasad Devkota, Secretary of the Ministry of Land Reform and Management. The Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Mr. Nguyen Linh Ngoc received the delegation on behalf of the Vietnam government. Mr. Lai Xuan Mon, Member of Central Party Committee, Chairman of Vietnam Farmers’ Union received the delegation as the host organization.

The exchange visit, held March 7-11, 2017, was a joint initiative of the government of Nepal, National Land Rights Forum (NLRF), and Vietnam Farmers’ Union (VNFU), in coordination with Community Self Reliance Centre (CSRC), partner NGO of NLRF, and AFA. Both NLRF and VNFU are members of AFA.


The Nepalese team interacted with farmers, policy makers and officials of local and provincial level government about the land reform during their visit.

Nepal’s Ministry of Land reform has been formulating the national land policy and also drafting land use act. The learning visit was organized to learn from Vietnam, a country that has been successful in its land reform program especially on land use. After successful land reform, Vietnam became second largest rice exporter in the world. The Nepal government will put into use its leanings from this study visit. It is set to revise its land use policy, to make it more comprehensive, and to include better use of forests and agricultural lands in order to bring sustainable livelihoods to poor people.


Vietnam’s Deputy Minister Nguyen Linh Ngoc expressed interest to further support the land reform processes of the Nepal Government, through financial and technical means.

Capitalizing bitter bamboo group experience and improving marketing of bitter bamboo shoots (Lao Farmer Network)

Non-timber forest products such as bamboo shoots are a very important food and source of income for farmers in rural areas of Laos. Sustainable management of bamboo is important for food security, and improvement of the bamboo value chain can help increase incomes for rural people. That is why the Lao Farmer Network (LFN), a national farmer platform in the country, is highly interested in capitalizing the experiences of its member, the bitter bamboo group, in managing the forest and marketing their products.

Bitter bamboo is a unique type of bamboo that is available in a few areas in Laos such as Hoaphan and Oudomxay provinces. The shoots are harvested in December to March when they are still underground. Once the shoots have grown above the surface, they start to taste very bitter. So, farmers harvest the shoots while they are still small and underground.

lfn bitter bamboo 02

The bitter bamboo group of Nampheng village, Namor district, Oudomxay province has more than a decade of experience in collectively managing their resources as well as marketing bamboo shoots. Through sustainable practices, the forest area has been maintained and villagers are enjoying reliable harvest and incomes.

The group has very strict rules that allow villagers to harvest the shoots only from December to end of March, after which the group declares the close of the forest. The group also bans the use of hoe to avoid damage to the bamboo. Young trees are protected while older trees that are more than 3 years old are allowed to be cut.

In terms of marketing, all villagers have to sell the shoots to the group. The group has a contract with a buyer who gives money upfront. The members get their money right away from the group once the shoots have been delivered to the group. Regarding the trader selection, the group makes the decision based on offers from different buyers. For this year, a trader in the nearest town got the contract because he offers a higher price and also lives near the group.

lfn bitter bamboo 03

Regarding the price, the trader gives 5,500 Kip/Kg, the member receives 5,200 Kip/Kg, and the group keeps 300 Kip/Kg for the revolving fund. The fund is used for community work and for credit.

LFN is not only capitalizing this experience, but is actually now helping the group to access markets in Vientiane, the capital city of Laos. The network will support the group to pilot the marketing of 1 ton of shoots to some markets in Vientiane. The price in Vientiane varies from 10,000-15,000 Kip/Kg, three times higher than what villagers are getting now. The process of this piloting will be documented, and the results will be shared in the next couple of months.

The capitalizing activity is funded by AsiaDHRRA while the piloting of the market in Vientiane is funded by LURAS, a Swiss-funded development program.

Lao Farmer Network (LFN) is a member of the Asian Farmers’ Association for Sustainable Rural Development (AFA).

For more information, contact Phoutthasinh Phimachanh (

Vacancy Announcements from APAARI

Two vacancy announcements from APAARI:

Vacancy Announcement for the position of Executive Secretary – APAARI
The Asia-Pacific Association of Agricultural Research Institutions (APAARI) wishes to recruit the vacant position of Executive Secretary and seeks applications/expression of interest from suitably qualified and experienced candidates who are citizens of the countries of the Asia-Pacific region…

Recruitment of Coordinator, Asia-Pacific Consortium on Agricultural Biotechnology (APCoAB)
The Asia-Pacific Association of Agricultural Research Institutions (APAARI) wishes to recruit the vacant position of APCoAB Coordinator to implement the agricultural biotechnology programme of APAARI in collaboration with its member organizations…

(AFA is a regular member of APAARI and sits in the Executive Committee)

Forest and farm producer organizations commit to promote rights and livelihoods of their members, call for support from governments and partner organizations

Knowledge Exchange Forum on Promoting Rights and Livelihoods through Forest and Farm Producer Organizations Bangkok, Thailand, 7-8-9 December 2016. The information exchange event was organised by the International Family Forestry Alliance (IFFA), the Asian Farmers Association for sustainable rural development (AFA), and was hosted by RECOFTC – The Center for People and Forests. The event took place with support of the Forest & Farm Facility (FFF). Hosted at FAO, the FFF is a global partnership between FAO, IIED, IUCN, and AgriCord that aims to promote sustainable forest and farm management by supporting local, national, regional and international forest and farm producer organisations for improved livelihoods and decision-making over forest and farm landscapes. It was attended by more than 60 participants from 10 countries. Building on the experience of the previous conferences/workshops, this Asia conference was meant to facilitate networking between existing associations and provide them a platform to build their capacity by sharing experiences. Examples from different producer organizations both in a background paper and from presentations at the conference and the field visit were meant to inspire, give visibility to and energize participants and their organizations. It was also be an opportunity to show that local initiatives and organizations are not alone as they could belong to a bigger popular movement.

Strategy From the Knowledge Exchange Forum on Promoting Rights and Livelihoods through Forest and Farm Producer Organisations

Bangkok, Thailand , 7-8-9 December 2016

We the participants of the Forest and Farm Producer Organisation’s Exchange forum at our first Asian meeting 7-9th of December 2016 in Bangkok, Thailand,

RECOGNIZING the key role of forest and farm producers’ organizations and the legal and institutional recognition we need to plant, care, protect and market our family forest and farm products as significantly contributing to the broader sustainable development agenda and directly to most of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

RECOGNIZING the serious Climate Change threat to our lives as well as the great and large scale climate change mitigation and adaptation function our forest and farm producer groups can provide by the interlinkage between trees and food production, recovering the forest/agricultural landscape, promoting eco-system services and improving the livelihoods and sustainable land management through Locally Controlled Forestry and Farming.

RECOGNIZING that secure land tenure (including forest land), freedom of association and legal and institutional recognition of farm/family forest producer organizations, supportive government policies and extension services, and access to markets and finances as indispensable pillars for an enabling environment for the success of forest and farm producer organizations.

CONCERNED that there should be a leveling of the playing field by empowering smallholder organisations so that they can claim their rights and access to markets and at the same time fill the gap between well intentioned political reforms and reality on the ground.

ENCOURAGING the establishment of partnerships between farm and forest producer organizations and government field services and international donors to leverage budgets and staff capacity as a model to be encouraged.

STRESSING the benefit of increased inclusiveness in producer organisations with women, youth, indigenous and other underrepresented groups in our organisations

We commit to the following actions to overcome challenges presented at the Knowledge exchange with our association’s members

– Expand our membership and strengthen our capacities including in the area of data management relating to forests and trees, and thereby achieve respect and legitimacy for our associations

– Ensure the full inclusion of women, youth and indigenous peoples in the forest and farm sector

– Provide a leadership (men and women) with high character values and democratic, transparent and good governance management

– Promote trees as an asset with a broad spectra of forest products including non-timber products and agro forestry practices where appropriate, for increase the capacity to add value to products and services

– Increase collaboration with informal and formal, existing or new networks in the region and global levels

We call our Governments to:

– Recognize the importance of and provide financing for, tree growing and utilisation for sustainable forest and farm management, by smallholders and their producer organisations to enhance rural livelihood and enterprise as well as national economy

– Reduce legal barriers for commercial use by forest and trees by smallholders

– Recognize the legal rights and traditional knowledge of smallholders and strengthen their participation through their producer organisation’s representatives in land, forest and agriculture policy and decision making processes

– Do everything possible to improve land access and to strengthen land tenure legislation that incentivises tree growing and sustainable forest and farm management

– Promote and ensure wide spread education of trees as an asset both in the growing and use of wood from sustainable forests as a prime climate action. See the initiative of Tree Bank in Thailand as a very promising effort to contribute to a restoration of forest cover for the benefit of people as a new source of income and the environment

– Recognize the services provided by the ecological restoration by smallholders and indigenous peoples that requires compensation in national and international processes

– Fairly implement the laws governing natural forest and other protected areas with due consideration of local people

We call our regional and global partner organisations to:

– Strengthen national, regional and international cooperation between forest and farm producer organisations

– Meet again in this Asian regional context in two/three years to make a bench mark of achievements and their relation to SDGs

Click here to download the paper in PDF 

Click here for Tweets from the conference

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AFA crafts 5-year operations plan

In its 7th general assembly held in Hanoi, Vietnam last August 2016, AFA approved a five-year strategic plan which prioritizes 5 agenda: (1) secured rights to lands, waters, forests, pastures and seeds; (2) sustainable and resilient agriculture in farms and forested landscapes; (3) cooperative and enterprise development; (4) women; and, (5) youth empowerment.

Last December 3-4, 2016, the AFA members met to work on the details of the strategic plan through an operational planning.

Through a participatory method, the members worked on each agenda to flesh out what AFA wants to achieve in the next five years and what key activities it will carry out in organizing/networking, capacity building, advocacy, KM/M&E, and resource mobilization.

Present during the meeting were API (Indonesia), PAKISAMA (Philippines), FNN and FWN (Cambodia), LFN (Laos), AFFM (Myanmar), VNFU (Vietnam), NLRF and CTCF (Nepal), NAMAC (Mongolia), UWUA (Kyrgyztan), NADF (Tajikistan), AINOUKAI (Japna) and TWADA (Taiwan).

In the business meeting that followed, the 5 year operations plan and the 2017 annual plan were also approved.

FOs, coops, CSOs, agri agencies hold workshop to strengthen agri coops in Asia


More than 70 representatives from farmer organizations, cooperatives, civil society organizations and agri-agencies gathered in Sulo Hotel, Quezon City, Philippines on December 1-2 to discuss priorities, strategies and actions for strengthening agricultural cooperatives in Asia.

The workshop was a follow up to the 6th ASEAN Cooperative Business Forum (ACBF) held on November 29-30 in Novotel, Quezon City, Philippines, where government, CSO, farmer and cooperative representatives pledge to support the development and strengthening of agri coops in the region as vehicles for inclusive development.

The event was organized by AFA, PAKISAMA, AsiaDHRRA, We Effect and CSA, with support from OXFAM, AFOSP-MTCP2, EU, IFAD, SDC and FAO’s FFF.

A total of 77 participants from 14 Asian countries and 4 European countries joined the event.

The specific objectives of the workshop were to: 1) appreciate the role of agricultural cooperatives; b) share and learn from successful experiences of managing agri coops; and, c) formulate concrete strategies and an operations plan for strengthening agri cooperatives in Asia in the next five years, with focus on the sub regions (SEA, SAARC).

Participants gathered lessons learned from the experiences of successful agricultural cooperatives in Asia like Ja Zenchu in Japan and NACF in South Korea, NCC in sri Lanka, as well as IFFCO in India and FPSDC and SIDC in the Philippines.

They also reflected on the role of agri coops in achieving SDGS through a presentation from ICA and envisioned possible models and structures for agri coops with input from a draft discussion paper by AFA’s agri coop program officer.

They looked at possibilities for cooperation at the regional level through a presentation from Fair Trade Asia Pacific and AFOSP-MTCP2.

Lastly, participants developed 2016-2020 strategic action plans per sub-region for AFA and non-AFA members.

International and local groups vow to support ASEAN agri coops for inclusive development at 6th ACBF

6th-acbf-declarationQuezon City, Philippines – International and local delegates to the 6th ASEAN Cooperative Business Forum held on November 29-30 at the Novotel in Cubao, Quezon City signed a declaration that commits to promote and advance agricultural cooperatives in the ASEAN region as a vehicle towards attaining inclusive development.

The delegates are representatives of ASEAN Member States, other countries, cooperatives, farmer and fisher organizations, development organizations and civil society organizations championing the eradication of extreme poverty and hunger especially among small farmers, indigenous communities and fisher folks who ironically are the ones who feed the world.

The delegates vowed to strongly advocate sustainable agricultural technologies and promote local industries towards sustainable livelihoods and conservation of natural resources.


In his speech at the opening of the forum, CDA Chairperson Orlando Ravanera lauded the efforts of the delegates to come together to respond to the challenges of the ASEAN Economic Community, which officially began last year.

“Cooperatives are the cutting edge for a sustainable future. They strongly advocate for sustainability specially on food sovereignty.  Now, we come together to explore intra-trading among the 300,000 agri coops in the ASEAN region,” Ravanera said.

“When you buy the products of cooperatives, you buy the essentials, the healthy and the organic, and in doing so, you generate massive employment and support the livelihood of the poor and the vulnerable,” he added.

The International Labor Organization has recognized cooperatives for their contribution to economic development and generation of more than 100 million jobs worldwide.

The event was organized by the Cooperative Development Authority (CDA) of the Republic of the Philippines, in cooperation with the ASEAN Center for Agricultural Cooperatives (ACEDAC) and the ASEAN Sectoral Working Group on Agricultural Cooperative (ASWGAC), and in partnership with the Asian Farmers’ Association for Sustainable Rural Development (AFA) , Federation of Peoples’ Sustainable Development Cooperative (FPSDC) , Nutriwealth Multipurpose Cooperative, KaPandesal Multipurpose Cooperative, AsiaDHRRA and  We Effect. The event was sponsored by 23 other institutions, including, 16 national cooperatives, international farmers organization La Via Campesina, three international intergovernmenal agencies (IFAD, EU, SDC) and international agri agencies CSA, FFD, Oxfam.

The results of the forum will be presented to ACEDAC and ASWGAC and will serve as inputs to an ASEAN roadmap on agricultural cooperatives that is geared at promoting a more inclusive, sustainable and equitable ASEAN Economic Community.

The 6th ACBF aims to enhance economic collaboration within the ASEAN Economic Community through cooperatives by providing the opportunity for international partners to share their respective countries’ best practices that will give inspiration and expand development options for ASEAN stakeholders.

The forum provides a platform for the different organizations to discuss key challenges and opportunities confronting them in their effort to establish an economic community within the framework of Social Solidarity Economy.

It also gives a venue to showcase the agricultural products and services through a cooperative trade fair exhibit.

A talk show and a press conference were also held during the event.

Click here for the 6th ACBF Declaration

Click here for CNN Philippines’ report

Click here for Facebook posts about #ACBF2016

Click here for Tweets about #ACBF2016


Gov’t, FOs, CSOs and agri-agencies come together for 6th ASEAN Cooperative Business Forum

15192636_10154570907921421_7895573883762589900_nThe ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) reflects ASEAN’s vision for an inclusive growth. Along this effort, ASEAN commits to “promote agricultural cooperatives as a means to empower and enhance market of agricultural products, to build a network mechanism linking agricultural cooperatives, and to fulfill the purpose of agricultural cooperatives for the benefit of farmers in the region”.

In recognition of the valuable role of cooperatives particularly of the agricultural cooperatives, the Cooperative Development Authority (CDA) of the Republic of the Philippines, in cooperation with the ASEAN Center for Agricultural Cooperative (ACEDAC) and the ASEAN Sectoral Working Group on Agricultural Cooperative (ASWGAC) and in partnership with ASEAN Farmers’ Organization Support Program (AFOSP) implemented by Asian Farmers’ Organization for Sustainable Rural Development (AFA) and La Via Campesina (LVC), together with other regional CSOs and agri-agencies (AsiaDHRRA, CSA and WeEFFECT) and local/national Cooperative partners will host the 6th ASEAN Cooperative Business Forum (ACBF) on November 29 to 30 in Manila, Philippines to provide opportunity for learning exchange and cooperation towards enhancing ASEAN Economic Collaboration through Cooperatives.

The 6th ACBF will bring together various government agencies working on Cooperative Development, Co-op and farmer leaders, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), Development partners and other stakeholders to discuss key challenges as well as opportunities for regional cooperation among Cooperatives towards an inclusive regional integration process within the context of ASEAN Economic Community framework. ACBF also hopes to showcase agricultural products and services through a Co-op Trade Fair Exhibit.

PAKISAMA celebrates 30th anniversary, holds 9th congress

PAKISAMA 9th Congress' Delegates from Mindanao, Visayas and Luzon (c) Nonoy Villas
PAKISAMA 9th Congress’ Delegates from Mindanao, Visayas and Luzon (Photo by Nonoy Villas)

The Pambansang Kilusan ng mga Samahang Magsasaka (PAKISAMA) is celebrating its 30th anniversary and holding its 9th congress on November 21 at the Claret Retreat House in Quezon City, Philippines with the theme “Perlas na mga Karanasan sa Tatlong Dekadang Nakaraan: Kasaysayan, Pakikibaka, Kabuhayan” (“Pearl of Experience through Past Three Decades: Ourstory, Struggle, Livelihood”).

Participating in the event are leaders and partners of PAKISAMA and its member cooperatives, associations, and federations coming from 45 provinces of the country, representing the voices of some 54,000 landless and owner-cultivators, upland farmers, marginal fishers, indigenous peoples, rural women and youth.

The event have 4 main objectives: (1) to celebrate the 30 years of experience recognizing the critical milestones of PAKISAMA; (2) to present past 3-year accomplishments (2013-2015) and to approve the strategic direction of PAKISAMA for the next 6 years (2017-2022); (3) to recognize outstanding members and partners for the past 30 years who contributed to the growth and development PAKISAMA; and (4) to elect a new set of officers that will govern PAKISAMA for the next 3 years.

The celebration includes a film presentation on PAKISAMA’s 30-year history, keynotes speech by Vice President Maria Leonor Gerona Robredo, dinner for a cause, and solidarity night and recognition of outstanding members and partners.

PAKISAMA is a national peasant confederation and movement towards the empowerment of small farmers, fishers, rural women, youth, and indigenous peoples. It envisions a humane, gender-sensitive and environmentally sound rural society where peoples control and own the basic means of production and exchange; critically and actively participate in governance; protect and care for the environment; and live the values of authentic humanism in a Philippine society characterized by justice, freedom, democracy and national sovereignty.

It is an AFA member organization in the Philippines.

Farmer organizations supported by AFOSP-MTCP2 attend KLMPE 2016

15085721_1342456459120132_9033994477495737788_n-1The Asian Farmers’ Association for Sustainable Rural Development (AFA), Pambansang Kilusan ng mga Samahang Magsasaka (PAKISAMA) and other farmer organizations in the Philippines supported by the ASEAN Farmers’ Organizations Support Program (AFOSP) – Medium Term Cooperation Programme with Farmers’ Organisations in Asia and the Pacific, Phase II (MTCP2) attended this year’s Knowledge and Learning Market that has the theme IFF+2: Engaging Development Partners Towards Sustainable Development of Smallholder/Family Farmers held at the Bureau of Soil and Water Management (BSWM) Convention Center of the Department of Agriculture (DA) in Quezon City, Philippines.

The KLMPE 2016 featured an interactive learning exhibit highlighting the various IFAD-funded projects and rural developments in the Philippines, where AFA, PAKISAMA and other AFOSP-MTCP2 FOs displayed their agricultural products and knowledge materials.

There were also product demonstrations such as the one on Sweet Potato Noodles and Pandesal Making by the CIP-FoodStart and Mushroom Production by the Organic Farmers of Macabud, Rizal. Farmer participants are very happy to take advantage of these opportunities to learn new product technologies that could help them find additional source of income.

In his opening remarks, IFAD County Programme Officer Jerry Pacturan, in behalf of the 2016 Knowledge and Learning Market and Policy Engagement (KLMPE) Technical Working Group, warmly welcomed the guests and participants from all over the country to the 2016 KLMPE celebration recognizing them as partners in development. With this year’s theme of “IYFF+2: Engaging development partners toward sustainable development of smallholder/family farmers,” he emphasized that over the last decade, the KLMPE has been “a platform for knowledge sharing and learning for civil society organizations, government and development partners, and a venue for policy engagement with government policy makers and program implementers.”

Frank Roy Ribo of the Kalipunan ng Maliliit na Magniniyog ng Pilippinas (KAMMPIL), representing the AFOSP-MTCP2 FOs and the farmers sector, gave the keynote address.

A stakeholder-based policy engagement , which aimed to promote good practices of family farmers, innovations and initiatives, draw out lessons for policy dialogue-lobby and program development, and to implement and popularize knowledge products on advocating family farmers’ innovation, was staged in the afternoon of the first day.

There were breakout sessions on the themes of (1) sustainable agriculture, food security and nutrition; (2) market empowerment; and (3) resource tenure. Inspiring experiences of successful smallholder farmers and advocates were championed during the policy sessions.

In the session on market empowerment for small holder farmers, successful farmer entrepreneurs shared their experiences in farming enterprises on coffee, coconut, pineapple and fisheries.

To have a grasp of the strategic actions and updates on IYFF+1, Raul Socrates Banzuela of PAKISAMA presented the Progress Updates of IYFF Action Agenda from the FOs/CSOs. He highlighted three (3) updates particularly: 1) active promotion and undertaking of climate-resilient agriculture; 2) enlargement of farmer’s power, and 3) strengthening capacity of agricultural cooperatives.

This was followed by another breakout session on ways forward which resulted in strategic directions for the next five years (2017-2022) with a more strengthened and collaborative support for smallholder/family farmers. Participants were grouped based on the sectors they belong to: farmer organizations, academes, civil service organizations, research institutions and the government.

AFA, PAKISAMA and AFOSP-MTCP2 FOs are members of the KLMPE technical working group. The AFA Secretary General synthesized day 1 and day 2 discussions, while the KM Officer contributed to social media reporting. PAKISAMA brought around 50 farmer participants to the event, while AFOSP-MTCP2 FO representatives took the lead in the breakout group on resource tenure.

The organizers for this year’s KLMPE include: IFAD, DAR, DA, AFA, AsiaDHRRA, AFOSP-MTCP2, PAKISAMA, PhilDHRRA, TRIAS Southeast Asia, and We Effect.


FOs, CSOs hold roundtable discussion with EU and ASEAN on strengthening agri coops and youth roles in regional integration

7 November 2016, Jakarta, Indonesia — Farmer organizations and civil society organizations are holding a roundtable discussion with the EU and ASEAN to share existing initiatives and discuss/brainstorm on a potential tripartite regional program cooperation among FOs/CSOs, ASEAN and EU for strengthening the role of youth and agricultural cooperatives in the ASEAN regional integration process

Timed with the EU Agriculture Commissioner’s visit to the ASEAN region, the roundtable discussion will have two parts: a dialogue with the Agriculture Commissioner and a discussion among FOs, CSOs, EU and ASEAN stakeholders in the region to elaborate further on emerging ideas and concepts in relation to strengthening the role of FOs, agri-cooperatives, and rural youth.

Participants to the roundtable discussion include representatives from farmer federations and cooperative federations from ASEAN countries such as API, SPI and WAMTI in Indonesia, VNFU in Vietnam, FNN in Cambodia, LFN in Laos and PAKISAMA in the Philippines; and from Asian regional farmer organizations such as AFA and La Via Campesina and European farmer organizations such as CEJA.

From the agri-agencies, representatives come from AsiaDHRRA, CSA and AgriCord.

From ASEAN, participants come from ASEC, ASCC, RDPE, AF and ACEDAC.

The EU is represented by Franck Viault, Head of Cooperation, and Vebry Muamar, EEAS-JAKARTA; Phil Hogan, EU Commissioner on Agriculture and Rural Development; and, Laurent Lourdais, ASEAN Desk Officer, DG Agriculture and Rural Development.

IFAD is represented by Anisa Lucky, IFAD Country Program Office.

The roundtable discussion is one of the activities under the ASEAN Farmers’ Organisations Support Programme (AFOSP) supported by EU and IFAD.

Click here to download the roundtable discussion design and program

Click here for more information about the EU Agriculture Commissioner’s visit to ASEAN

Click here for more information about AFOSP

AFA member SEWA signs MOU with FAO


[FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva and Reema Nanavaty, Director, Self Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) at the signing ceremony. (c) FAO]

New AFA member SEWA in India has signed a memorandum of understanding last September 13 with FAO “to intensify joint efforts aimed at building the capacities of the rural poor to fully benefit from rural economies, with particular emphasis on ensuring that women and youth are engaged and empowered.” This was announced by FAO in its website and shared by SEWA to AFA in an e-mail. Read the full story from FAO below.

FAO and India’s SEWA join efforts to empower rural women and youth

New agreement aims to ensure capacity development, farmers’ access to productive resources, knowledge exchange

13 September 2016, Rome – India’s Self Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) and FAO are strengthening their collaboration to boost rural development and reduce poverty in Asia and Africa via local initiatives focused on empowering rural women and youth.

Building on years of successful partnership, the two organizations have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) today to intensify joint efforts aimed at building the capacities of the rural poor to fully benefit from rural economies, with particular emphasis on ensuring that women and youth are engaged and empowered. Healthy and vibrant rural economies are an important engine that can drive improvements in food security and nutrition, according to the two organizations.

The MoU was signed by FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva and SEWA Director Reema Nanavaty.

“This Memorandum of Understanding will help us improve our cooperation, particularly to increase access to productive resources and services, to expand possibilities for the rural poor, and to generate knowledge about the situation of rural women and youth”, said Graziano da Silva.

Nanavaty said that in the years to come FAO and SEWA would focus their efforts on generating more employment and decent jobs, strengthening livelihoods, and making agriculture climate-resilient and climate-smart.

Scaling up joint efforts

Sharing the common objective of reducing rural poverty and ensuring food security, FAO’s and SEWA’s approaches are different yet complementary and will benefit all concerned.

While FAO contributes to improving the livelihoods of poor rural farmers through policy and programme support, setting standards and generating knowledge, SEWA aims to empower marginalized rural women and informal sector workers through grassroots campaigns and social mobilization, and ensuring their access to services.

Both organizations have agreed to broaden the scope of their cooperation not only to benefit rural women and youth in the countries where they are currently operating, but also to generate online tools and technical materials for use by other countries that face similar challenges in their efforts to reduce rural poverty.

Core areas where FAO and SEWA will work together include: promoting the exchange of experiences and knowledge between the different regions in Asia and Africa on good practices for promoting the inclusion of women and youth in rural economies; enhancing rural women’s access to financial resources and technologies; and establishing sound governance practices, gender equality measures and advocacy strategies to stimulate pro-poor policy change.

As part of their engagement, FAO and SEWA are developing an action plan designed to improve livelihoods, decision-making and the sustainability of rural populations.

Registered as a trade union in India since 1972, SEWA is a membership organization of 1.9 million poor self-employed women workers. Its primary focus is building the capacities of marginalized women farmers, while at the same time enhancing their access to financial resources and social protection mechanisms.

FAO’s Strategic Framework places strong emphasis on supporting rural communities to fight poverty, hunger and malnutrition, with a special focus on women, youth and other marginalized groups. It contributes to global standard setting and provides policy and technical programme support to countries.

Gender issues in the spotlight

Today’s MoU comes ahead of a high-level event, “Stepping It Up Together for Rural Women to End Hunger and Malnutrition,” which will take place 16 December in Rome and is being co-organized by FAO, the Slovak Presidency of the Council of the European Union and the European Commission in close collaboration with key UN partners.

Gender equality and women’s empowerment issues are at the centre of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. In addition to the stand-alone SDG 5 “Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls”, they are mainstreamed across all the global goals.


AFA LVC conducts Retooling and Planning Workshop for MTCP2 South Asia FO partners

srsc-saSeptember 11, 2016, Kavre, Nepal — The consortium Asian Farmers Association for Sustainable Rural Development (AFA) and La Via Campesina (LVC), regional implementing agencies (RIA) of the Medium Term Cooperation Program Phase 2 (MTCP2), concluded here a three-day retooling and planning workshop for the remaining one and a half years of implementation in four countries, namely Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Sri Lanka. The workshop was hosted by All Nepal Peasant Federations Association (ANPFa), the national implementing agency in Nepal.

The workshop was attended by the RIA and each country’s MTCP2 program coordinator, and officers for monitoring and evaluation, knowledge management and finance management.

Main agreements reached during the workshop included: (1) expansion of MTCP2 in Bhutan and Pakistan with appropriate FO profiling done prior to launching; (2) funds for expansion countries from the budget of the sub regional processes as well as contributions from the existing country budgets; (3) completion of MTCP2 activities by June 30, 2018; (4) revised tools for monitoring and evaluation to capture the outputs, outcomes and impact of the project; and (5) submission by October 23, 2016 of 2017-2018 targets with detailed 2017 plans including activities for commodity clustering using value chain approach.

The workshop facilitators Lany Rebagay, Bernie Galang, Maru Ventura , Esther Penunia from AFA and Zainal Fuad from LVC walked the participants through and guided them in the use of revised planning, M&E and KM tools through interactive exercises and some games.

The workshop was capped with a field visit to (1) a government’s sericulture program involving a women’s group, (2) Shakti Organic Fertilizer company founded by Ms. Nirmala Shrestha, and (3) a tomato producer.

7th AFA general assembly approves new strategic plan, elects new set of officers

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[7th AFA GA, Hanoi, Vietnam, 5 August 2016 (c) AFA 2016]

AFA has approved a new strategic plan for 2016-2020 during its 7th general assembly held last August 5 in Hanoi, Vietnam. It includes a definition of AFA’s nature and a revision of its vision and mission statement and peasant agenda. The strategic plan was based on an assessment of the strategic plan for 2011-2016, the workshop held by members last December in Bangkok, and a survey among members.

The membership defined AFA’s nature as “an Asian alliance of national farmer organizations composed of small scale women and men family farmers, fishers, indigenous peoples, forest dwellers, herders and pastoralists.” It revised its vision as “just, free, peaceful, healthy, economically viable, sustainable and resilient communities in Asia.” It reformulated its mission as “to build solidarity, raise our collective voice, and empower our members as key drivers and actors for sustainable rural development”.
Likewise, it also revised its goal as “to strengthen capacities of national farmers’ organizations leading to eradication of poverty and hunger, increased resilience, and sense of well-being of family farmers in Asia.”
To focus AFA’s work in the next five years, the membership also set five priority agenda as follows:

-Promote secured tenurial rights of small scale women and men family farmers over natural resources: lands, waters, forests and seeds
-Produce diverse and nutritious food through sustainable and resilient farming system and practices in farms and forested landscapes
-Build and strengthen farmers’ cooperatives and their enterprises that will give farmers stronger involvement in value chains and increase their market power
-Promote fair treatment and ensure equitable rights and opportunities among women and men farmers
-Promote agriculture towards the young farmers and build their interests and capacities towards sustainable and resilient farming and related enterprises

AFA will pursue five programs such as capacity building, knowledge management, policy advocacy, resource mobilization/sustainability measures and dynamic governance.

New Execom officers elected

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[7th AFA GA, Hanoi, Vietnam, 5 August 2016 (c) AFA 2016]

The members also announced their official representatives to the Executive Committee of AFA and elected a new set of officers, led by Lyam Darji of NLRF Nepal as Chairperson, Shazada Begun of KKM Bangladesh as Vice Chairperson, and Leu Vu Dieu of VNFU Vietnam as Treasurer. They re-appointed Esther Penunia as Secretary General.

The rest of the Execom representatives were presented to the general assembly as follows:

-AFFM, Myanmar – Mr. U Than Swe, President
-API, Indonesia – Mr. Muhamad Nuruddin, Secretary General
-FNN, Cambodia – Mr. Seu Rany, President
-FWN, Cambodia – Mrs. Roeurn, President
-PAKISAMA, Philippines – Mr. Ireneo Cerilla, President
-LFN, Laos – Mr. Somboun Saybouakeo, President
-UWUA, Kyrgyztan – Mr. Kanybek Jumaev, President
-NADF, Tajikista – Mr. Sharipov Azizbek Fattoevich, President
-SEWA, India – For confirmation
-TWADA, Taiwan – Mr. Hsieh-Liang Tsai – Young farmer
-TDFA, Taiwan – Mr. Yen-Liang Huang, Vice-President
-NAMAC , Mongolia – Ms. Altantuya Tseden-Ish, Vice-President
-AINOUKAI, Japan – Mr. Shimpei Murakami, Chairperson
-KKM, Bangladesh – Ms. MST Shazada Begum, President
-CTCF, Nepal – Mr. Rabin Rai, Elected Gen Sec (Farmer)
-NLRF, Nepal – Mr. Lyam Bahadur Darjee, President
-VNFU, Vietnam – Mr. Leu Vu Dieu, 1st Vice-Chairperson

The 7th AFA GA was hosted by VNFU and was attended by 42 representatives (28 men and 14 women, 7 of whom are youth) from 17 farmer organizations from 14 countries as follows: Aliansi Petani Indonesia, Pambansang Kilusang ng Samahang Magsasaka (PAKISAMA) in the Philippines, Farmer and Nature Net (FNN) and Farmer and Water Net (FWN) in Cambodia, Lao Farmer Network (LFN), Agriculture and Farmer Federation of Myanmar (AFFM), Viet Nam Farmer Union (VNFU), National Land Rights forum (NLRF), Central Tea Cooperative Federation (CTCF) in Nepal, Kendrio Krishok Moitree (KKM) in Bangladesh, National Association of Mongolian Agricultural Cooperatives (NAMAC), Union of Water Users Association (UWUA), Taiwan Dairy Farmers’ Association (TDFA), Taiwan Wax Apple Association (TWADA), AINOUKAI in Japan, National Association of Dehkan Farms (NADF) in Tajikista and Self Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) in India.

New regular members confirmed, certificates of membership awarded

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[7th AFA GA, Hanoi, Vietnam, 5 August 2016 (c) AFA 2016]

Four regular members were confirmed during the general assembly. They were LFN from Laos, SEWA from India, NADF from Tajikistan, and VNFU from Vietnam. LFN, SEWA and NADF applied for regular membership just before the general assembly, while VNFU has been a founding member of AFA, but being officially a regular member had to go through a long process within the organization. The representatives of each organization gave acceptance speeches during opening ceremony. Certificates of membership were also awarded to each AFA member

VNFU memorial medals awarded, solidarity dinner held

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[7th AFA GA, Hanoi, Vietnam, 5 August 2016 (c) AFA 2016]

After the business meeting of the general assembly, VNFU received AFA delegates in the evening for the Awarding of Memorial Medal for Vietnamese Peasantry. The chairperson of VNFU gave the memorial medals to five individuals, including the AFA Chairperson, the AFA Secretary General and the AsiaDHRRA Secretary General. It was followed by a solidarity dinner also hosted by VNFU where delegates enjoyed a traditional musical performance. Representatives from partner organizations also gave solidarity messages to AFA, namely, Peter Prins from the Netherlands Water Partnership, Harm Haverkort from Agriterra, Marek Poznanski from Collectif Strategies Alimentaires (CSA), and Daniel Ruiz de Garibay the World Rural Forum (WRF).

Knowledge sharing and consultation workshops

Several other events were held during the week of the general assembly, including:
-Knowledge Exchange Forum on FO Engagement in Public Investment Programs (August 1-2), organized by AFA, VNFU, AsiaDHRRA and CSA
-34th AFA Execom Meeting (August 3), organized by AFA and VNFU
-Field Visit to Tuyen Quang (August 4), organized by AFA, VNFU, AsiaDHRRA and CSA
-Regional Consultation on Seeds in South and South East Asia August 6), organized by AFA, VNU and AsiaDHRRA
-Regional Knowledge Sharing and Learning Session on Networking and Coordination among Partners of Forest and Farm Producer Organizations (August 7), organized by AFA and VNFU

Results will be posted on the AFA website once finalized.

Empowering small scale women and men farmers in Asia