Website of the Asian Farmers Association for Sustainable Rural Development

March 28th, 2014

Philippine CSOs gear up for IYFF 2014 events

IYFF 2014 LOGOCIVIL society organizations (CSOs) will meet at the Partnership Center in Quezon City on Monday (April 1, 2014) to highlight the calendar of activities and set a jubilant mood leading to the global closing event of International Year of Family Farming (IYFF) in the Philippines.

In his opening statement at the 32nd Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Asia Pacific Regional Conference in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia 10 to 14 March 2014, FAO Director General José Graziano da Silva announced that the global closing event of the IYFF 2014 will be held in the Philippines.

“This is in recognition of the lead role of Philippine government and CSOs in the IYFF campaign. We are happy with this confirmation,” said Marlene Destreza Ramirez, secretary general of AsiaDHRRA. “We urge our Philippine and regional partners to make full use of the year and the closing event to drumbeat the issues of smallholders and smallscale food producers.”

The Pambansang Kilusan ng mga Samahang Magsasaka (PAKISAMA) on behalf of the CSO organizing committee of IYFF in the Philippines — PAKISAMA, PhilDHRRAAFAAsiaDHRRA – is inviting CSOs who are working with the farmers to attend the consultation meeting to be able to gather a collective voice and coordinate actions from various sectors for the IYFF celebration.

Member countries of the United Nations and some CSOs around the world are going to send their representatives to the IYFF global closing event (Date to be determined after some discussions with the International Steering Committee). President Benigno Aquino III himself is expected to lead the celebration.

The Departments of Agriculture (DA) and Agrarian Reform (DAR) are co-convenors of the official national IYFF Committee. Last March 21, leaders from Pakisama, PhilDHRRA, AFA and AsiaDHRRA met with DA Secretary Proceso Alcala to discuss IYFF activities. Last March 24, the DAR had a “soft launch” on IYFF, and invited AFA Secretary General Esther Penunia, who is also FAO Special Ambassador for IYFF-Asia and the Pacific, to be one of its keynote speakers.

Representatives of both DA and DAR are also invited to attend the consultation meeting.

The Philippine government, at the 37th Session of the FAO Conference, proposed that the United Nations declare 2014 as the IYFF. At the 66th session of the General Assembly of the United Nations, 2014 was formally declared the IYFF. It highlights the decisive role of family farming in the sustainable production of 70% of the world’s food and in the conservation of ecosystems and biodiversity.



Ugnayan Hall, Partnership Center, 59 C Salvador St., Loyola Hts., Q.C.
1 April 2014, 1:00-6:00 PM



1:45- 3:15 Panel Session: UPDATES ON IYFF

- IYFF in the world and Asia-Pacific (10 minutes)
- Philippine Government Initiatives, DAR at DA (20 minutes)
- Philippine CSO initiatives (20 minutes )
- Open Forum (40 minutes)

make family farmers in Philippines happy this year and beyond

3:45-4:00 Health Break


National Organizing Committee on IYFF

5:00-6:00 Panel Session: Grow Asia Campaign

- The GROW Asia campaign in ASEAN and the WEF East Asia Forum (speaker from DA)
- Open Forum
- Synthesis of Comments/Feedback and Action Points


March 11th, 2014

Praying for the passengers and crew of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370

Our thoughts and prayers are with the 239 passengers and crew of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, which lost contact last March 8 two hours after departing from Kuala Lumpur en route to Beijing.

Among its passengers is a colleague in the social movement, Chandrika Sharma, executive secretary of the International Collective in Support of Fish Workers, based in Chennai, India.

An expert in fisheries sector and issues related to fishers, Ms. Sharma, a resident of Velachery, was heading to Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, to attend a regional conference for Asia and the Pacific hosted by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations.

February 22nd, 2014

AFA joins other FOs at the 5th global Farmers’ Forum in calling for greater support to smallholder family farmers

fafo 2014 sophal

[AFA Chairperson Uon Sophal intervenes from the floor during the 5th session of the Farmers’ Forum]

More than 90 leaders of national and regional organizations representing hundreds of millions of smallholder farmers, fishers, pastoralists and rural producers globally, gathered at the headquarters of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) for the Fifth Global Meeting of the Farmers’ Forum on February 17-20, in conjunction with the 37th session of IFAD’s Governing Council held on February 19-20. Read the rest of this entry »

February 6th, 2014

MTCP2 SEA+China sub-regional steering committee to meet in Manila

The first Southeast Asia plus China Sub-regional Steering Committee (SRSC) will be held on February 11-12, 2014 at the 6th Floor Opal Conference Room, Millenia Suites, 8001 Saint Jose Escriva Drive, Ortigas Center, Pasig City, Philippines.  Read the rest of this entry »

February 6th, 2014

Lao farmers to lead capacity building program

210120141329In a meeting held on January 22 at Laos Women’s Training Center, Vientianne, farmer organizations in Laos selected from among them the National Implementing Agency (NIA) and identified the composition of the National Steering committee (NSC) for the implementation of the Medium Term Cooperation Project  Phase 2 (MTCP2) in the country. The NIA, guided by the NSC, will anchor the implementation of MTCP2. Read the rest of this entry »

February 5th, 2014

FOs launch MTCP2 in Myanmar during village consultation

SAM_2828In behalf of the consortium of the Asian Farmers’ Association (AFA) and La Via Campesina (LVC), which has been chosen as Sub-Regional Implementing Agency (SRIA) for the Medium Term Cooperation Program Phase 2 (MTCP2) in Southeast Asia and China, Esther Penunia and Lany Rebagay anchored a three-day start-up mission in Myanmar in order to raise awareness of key stakeholders regarding MTCP2 and firm up the project implementation mechanism in the country. Read the rest of this entry »

February 3rd, 2014

MTPCP2 national program oversight board meets in India

photos1 (36)Farmer organizations participating in MTCP2 in India met last January 29, 2014 in Guwahati, Assam (with some joining via Skype) in order to reconstitute the national programme oversight board and to include more farmer organizations and new farming sectors.

Sharda Kant from Rajasthan, Anita Parmar from Gujarat, Sevika Basumatry from Assam, Pity from Meghalaya, Maheshwari Devi and Bhaktidevi from Uttarakhand, continue to be part of the board.  Each state would like to add new member to the board,e specially from the sector of animal husbandry.  These names would be submitted to SEWA by January 15, 2014.

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January 30th, 2014

Bangladesh FOs hold orientation on MTCP2

Farmer organizations in Bangladesh gathered last January 17, 2014 at the Coast Trust in Dhaka for an orientation on the Medium Term Cooperation Program Phase 2 that will be implemented in the country as well as other countries in Southeast Asia, South Asia, and the Pacific.

Twenty participants, four of which were females, representing nine national farmer organizations in Bangladesh, attended the orientation.

The participating organizations were Bangladesh Adibasi Somity (BAS), Bangladesh Krishak Federation (BKF), Bangladesh Krishak Federation (BKF-JI), Biplobi Jubo Sobha (BJS), Bangladesh kishani Sobha (BKS), Bangladesh Bhumihin Somity (BBS), Bangladesh agricultural Farm Labour Federation, Labor Resource Centrer (LRC), and COAST Trust.

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January 28th, 2014

AFA asserts role of smallholder farmers in vision for regional rice sector 2030


Pattaya, Thailand — In a meeting convened by the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in Thailand today, the Asian Farmers’ Association (AFA), through its representative Policy Advocacy Officer Ma. Elena Rebagay, emphasized the role of small holder farmers in the vision for the regional rice sector 2030.

The vision is contained in the draft regional rice strategy document, entitled “Rice Strategy for Sustainable Food Security in Asia and the Pacific Region,” which was discussed during the “Consultative Meeting on Rice Strategy for Asia and the Pacific” held in Pattaya, Thailand.

The meeting, which was joined by senior agriculture officers from around 12 countries in Southeast, East Asia and South Asia, hoped to gather comments/inputs to the second draft of the rice strategy paper that will be presented to the 32nd Asia-Pacific Regional Conference in Mongolia.

The second draft presents a vision for the regional rice sector for 2030 as well as several strategic options that hope to provide input to member states in making some adjustments in their existing rice strategies.

The draft vision hopes for “food secure, better nourished and prosperous rice producers and consumers in the Asia Pacific region who benefit equitably from a vibrant, innovative and transformed sector that is more productive, efficient and environmentally sustainable by 2030.”
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January 22nd, 2014

Worldwide farmer leaders meet at Abu Dhabi sustainability week to agree to global demands to boost family farming

(PAKISAMA National Coordinator Raul Socrates Banzuela is attending this meeting in behalf of AFA.)



· Participants seek global consensus on the major claims that Civil Society Organizations will transmit to decision makers during the International Year of Family Farming IYFF-2014.

· Family Farming, which provides 70% of the food consumed in the world and guarantees sustainable management of natural resources, requires a more determined support in most countries.

· This Women and Men Farmers Leaders’ meeting on the IYFF-2014 will take place on January 21-22, organised by the World Rural Forum and supported by Khalifa Fund for Entreprise Development and Agriterra.

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December 5th, 2013

Asia Pacific FO’s launch IFAD-funded capacity building project

23 November 2013, Bangkok, Thailand — Coming on the heels of the successful implementation of its pilot implementation, the second phase of the “Medium Term Cooperation Programme with Farmer Organizations in Asia and the Pacific” or MTCP2, a capacity building program funded by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), kicked off today in an official ceremony attended by various regional and national farmer organizations, including civil society organizations, government officials, and donor organizations.

MTCP2 aims at supporting poverty reduction in the region through strengthened capacity of rural farmers and their organizations to influence policies impacting on the livelihoods of rural poor producers. It will have four program components such as, strengthening FOs and their networks, supporting participation of FOs in policy processes, scaling up FO services and their involvement in agricultural development program, and strengthening program management and coordination.

Phase one of the project was a pilot grant implemented by FAO and the Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) from 2009-2012 that promoted the inclusion of smallholder farmers and their organizations in policy dialogues at various levels and strengthened regional, sub-regional and national FO platforms in Asia.

MTCP2 will build on the experiences and lessons learned from that phase and scale up the development of FOs in Asia and the Pacific region and will enhance the integration of poor smallholders, especially women and young people, through improved and inclusive services for FO members.

Fore more information, photos, videos and event highlights and proceedings, visit the following:

MTCP2 Blog

MTCP2 Facebook Page

November 22nd, 2013

AFA’s Presentation on Family Farming (2 of 2)

AFA Secretary General Esther Penunia speaking at the panel session on “Policies and Enabling Environment for Sustainable Development of Family Farming” during the event “Regional Dialogue on Family Farming: Sustainable Rural Development and Food Security organized by FAO on 21-22 November 2013 in Bangkok, Thailand.

November 22nd, 2013

AFA’s Presentation on Family Farming (1 of 2)

AFA Secretary General Esther Penunia speaking at the panel session on “Policies and Enabling Environment for Sustainable Development of Family Farming” during the event “Regional Dialogue on Family Farming: Sustainable Rural Development and Food Security organized by FAO on 21-22 November 2013 in Bangkok, Thailand.

November 22nd, 2013


(We support family farming! Representatives of AFA and other FOs participating in the MTCP2 launch and startup workshop are in Bangkok for the IYFF conference organized by FAO.)



  • Thousands of farmers throughout the world vindicate the role of Family Farming, through simultaneous activities on the occasion of the official launching of the International Year of Family Farming IYFF-2014, which is to be held tomorrow 22 November in New York.
  • 70% of the food consumed in the world comes from Family Farming and 40% of families live from this activity.
  • The World Rural Forum, coordinator of the IYFF-2014 Civil Society programme, highlights the need to agree on public policies that promote the development of Family Farming potential and recognise the right of nations to produce the majority of their food.

Read the rest of this entry »

November 18th, 2013

Official Launch of the Medium Term Cooperation Project – Phase Two (MTCP2)

mtcp2 launch banner (print screen)


Official Launch of the Medium Term Cooperation Project – Phase Two (MTCP2)


When: Saturday, November 23, 2013, 9:00 AM
Where: Amari Watergate Hotel, Bangkok, Thailand
Who: AFA, La Via Campesina, ANFPa, PIFON, IFAD

Farmers’ federations from Asia-Pacific, with support of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), will organize the “MTCP2 Launch and Start-Up Workshop” on Nov 23-24, 2013 in Bangkok, Thailand. The MTCP2 Launch will be held at Amari Watergate Hotel in the morning of Nov 23 while the Start-Up Workshop will be held at First Hotel in the afternoon of Nov 23 and the whole day of Nov 24.

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October 23rd, 2013

Muhammad Rifai, A Young Entrepreneur Farmer Developing Excellent (Ideal) Corn Seeds for Farmers

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October 5th, 2013

CSO side event during the Committee on Food Security meetings in Rome

The Civil Society Mechanism is organizing a side event related to the International Year of Family Farming (IYFF) 2014 during the Committee of Food Security (CFS) meetings, to be held on 7-11 October 2013 at the FAO headquarters in Rome.  CSOs who are in Rome next week are invited to this meaningful event. Click here to download the event flyer

CFS Rome Side Event

September 27th, 2013

Video: Making Markets Work for Small Scale Farmers

marking video frame grab

This video presents cases of different types of engagements of small-scale farmers with private enterprises and examines them using criteria of sustainability and inclusiveness, for the purpose of identifying what farmers and farmers groups, as well as government and other key stakeholders can do to increase farmers’ leverage and power in the market and along the value chains.

September 13th, 2013

GAFSP Set To Reach More Than 10 Million Farmers across 25 Countries

(The following is a press release from the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP). AFA is a support organization to the Asian CSO representative to the GAFSP Steering Committee.)

WASHINGTON, September 11, 2013—Partners in the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP), a multi-donor trust fund established in 2010 to improve food security in the world’s poorest countries, today announced the allocation of $254.5 million in grants to eight countries. The grants will support country-led initiatives to increase agricultural productivity, improve food and nutrition security, and reduce poverty in Burkina Faso, Honduras, Kyrgyz Republic, Mali, Nicaragua, Uganda, Yemen, and Zambia.

International food prices have spiked three times in the last five years. With the outlook for future food pries uncertain, GAFSP seeks to improve food security and reduce poverty by delivering targeted financing for the agriculture sector in low-income countries. It takes up where emergency and recovery assistance leaves off, targeting transformative and lasting long-term development
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September 7th, 2013

Missing the story on Golden Rice

The following is a blog from the Institute of Agriculture and Trade Policy arguing that mainstream media has missed the central issue of power in its reports on the opposition to genetically engineered Golden Rice in the Philippines. It makes a strong case that the issue is about “Who controls the technology? Who controls what farmers can grow, and what people eat?”,  which are also questions at the heart of the issue of addressing global hunger.

In the wake of protests in the Philippines over genetically engineered Golden Rice, a series of articles have appeared in the U.S. mainstream press (e.g., the New York Times) and alternative publications like Slate and Grist, all coming to the vigorous defense of the latest incarnation of this wonder rice designed to prevent malnutrition. Through veiled and at times explicit condescension, the U.S. media consensus seems to be that opposition to this wonder rice is based on scientific ignorance: Why wouldn’t you want to address global malnutrition?

A gaping hole in U.S. coverage is the perspectives of Philippine farm organizations, like the Asian Farmers Association affiliate PAKISAMA, or really anyone from the Philippines who opposes Golden Rice. By not including these voices, these reports miss a fundamental issue at the center of all issues around genetically engineered (GE) foods: power. Who controls the technology? Who controls what farmers can grow, and what people eat? Not coincidently, these questions are also at the center of addressing global hunger.

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