AFA member SEWA signs MOU with FAO

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[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.

SOURCE: http://www.fao.org/news/story/en/item/433019/icode/

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.

AFFM conducts Myanmar Farmers Forum

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(c) Esther Penunia/AFA

July 24, 2016. Yangon Myanmar . The Agriculture and Farmers Federation of Myanmar (AFFM) in partnership with its mother trade union Confederation of Trade Unions Myanmar (CTUM) and its regional farmer organization Asian Farmers Association (AFA), organized a two day national farmers forum last July 23-24, 2016 in Yangon, Myanmar. The forum brought together 150 participants from farmer leaders in all regions and states of Myanmar, partner civil society organization, and several National Parliament members and local government officials.

The forum was the largest gathering of farmers, Parliament members and partner groups since AFFM was established in 2011.

The theme of the Forum was ” From Sustainable Agriculture Development to Sustainable Economic Development”.

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(c) Esther Penunia/AFA

In his opening remarks, AFFM president U Than Swe asked the Myanmar government to recognize farmers as workers and thus support them as well. ” Myanmar is an agricultural country, so agricultural development will mean development of the country as well. According to our laws, our unions are based on family -run farming industry. So we are employers, and workers. Since we can be seen as an employer, a worker or a laborer, the government has responsibility to support us financially and also to promote our rights. However, we have not yet received any concrete support from the government. Today’s farmers should be under the protection of the law. ”

U Than Swe encouraged the four parliament members in the forum to listen and understand the farmers. At the end of the forum , AFFM submitted to the parliament members Farmers’ Statements on (1) Recommendations to the existing land and forestry laws ; (2) agriculture marketing, trading and economics and (3) social security, social protection, occupational safety and health. The statements were based on the inputs of the participants during the Forum.

The national farmers’ forum aimed to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of current laws and policies that affect family farmers, to present the situation and challenges the farmers face across the different regions and states in the country, and to present some alternatives or responses to the challenges at hand. Topics discussed included farm land laws, community forestry and forestry laws, occupational safety and health, social security and social protection for agricultural sector, agricultural economics , marketing and trade, situation of women and youth in the agricultural sector.

AFA Secretary General Esther Penunia made a presentation on “Marketing Imperative of Farmers : Farmers ‘ Multi-purpose Cooperatives as Vehicles for Strengthening Market Engagement. ”

The forum was financially supported by the MTCP2 AFOSP project, with EU, IFAD and SDC as project donor partners.

AFA holds 7th general assembly

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The Asian Farmers’ Association for Sustainable Rural Development, a regional alliance of 17 national federations and organizations of small scale women and men farmers and producers from 13 countries in Asia, will hold its 7th general assembly in Hanoi, Vietnam on August 1-7, 2016, to be hosted by the Viet Nam Farmer Union, one of the founding members of the association.

Several events will be held during the week of the general assembly:

  • Knowledge Exchange Forum on FO Engagement in Public Investment Programs (August 1-2), be organized by AFA, VNFU, AsiaDHRRA and CSA
  • 34th AFA Execom Meeting (August 3), be 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

During the GA proper on August 5, the membership of AFA is expected to craft a new strategic plan for 2016-2030, confirm their membership status and elect a new set of Execom officers.

The GA and the comprising events are supported by AsiaDHRRA, CSA, EU, IFAD, SDC, GAFSP and FFF.

(Follow the events on Facebook and Twitter though the hashtag #7thafaga.)

AFA participates in OECD-FAO-ASEAN Conference on Policies to Enable Food Security, Agricultural Productivity and Improved Nutrition

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[OECD-FAO-ASEAN Regional Conference on Agricultural Policies to Enable Food Security, Agricultural Productivity and Improved Nutrition last June 14-15 in Nay PwiTaw, Myanmar.]

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Empowering small scale women and men farmers in Asia