Website of the Asian Farmers Association for Sustainable Rural Development

May 15th, 2015

AFA presents data on large scale land acquisitions in Asia at the 2015 Global Land Forum

1510452_10152940051828520_8957872594548530180_nDakar, Senegal, 14 May 2015 — As focal point for the Land Matrix in Asia, AFA presented data on large scale land acquisitions in the region during the session organized by GIGA and ILC on May 13 at the 2015 Global Land Forum in Dakar, Senegal.

The data showed a high success rate of negotiations in foreign land deals in Asia, but a slower pace of implementation, and smaller area of contracted lands being put under actual production.

The data also showed patterns in former use of land and the intentions of investment on land, where mainly agricultural lands are being acquired for food, non-food commodities, unspecified agriculture produce and biofuels.

However, these patterns are expected to change due to the dynamic nature of the deals, as soon as more data about the deals are gathered.

Some examples of deals from Cambodia were presented, which highlighted huge areas of land leased to companies as economic land concessions, largely devoted to rubber plantation, and where communities are evicted from the land.

AFA also shared its structure and functions as Asia Focal Point and an update on its activities related to data gathering, networking, communication and research.

The presentation came after GIGA’s on the potentials, limits and dynamics of a comprehensive database.

Other regional focal points such as JASIL for Central Asia, Fundapaz for Latin America, and the University of Pretoria for Africa also gave their presentations on trends in foreign land deals in their regions as well as updates of their activities.

11255332_10152940053483520_8824294144590244852_nAFA called on the researchers, campaigners, FOs and NGOs present to help improve the data in the Land Matrix, use the data for policy advocacy, and suggest ways to improve the way data is shared.

Participants to the session showed interest in the data provided in the Land Matrix as well as on its potential uses for research and policy advocacy.

Organizations such as the Global Witness expressed willingness to cooperate on the issue of large scale land acquisitions in Cambodia.

AFA became the Asia Focal Point for the Land Matrix last August 2014.

The Global Land Forum is being held in Dakar, Senegal on May 12-16 together with the Assembly of Members of the ILC, of which AFA is a member since 2013.

April 30th, 2015

ILC Asia visits AFA

ilc asia visit to afaILC Asia Coordinator Erpan Faryadi and Information Officer Anna Brillante visited the AFA secretariat last April 17 in Quezon City, Philippines to exchange updates and explore cooperation on ILC/AFA’s initiative on the VGGT and the WEF’s Grow Asia campaign in the region. Faryadi and Brilante were in the country to attend the meeting of ILC NES Philippines as well as a land forum and general assembly of ANGOC.

April 30th, 2015

Researches on the Situation of Seeds in Selected SAARC Countries

researches on the situation of seeds in selected saarc countriesThis publication is a compilation of articles on the seed situation in South Asia as a whole, and Nepal and Bangladesh in particular. The articles here were edited from the research reports done under a project “Promoting Improved Policies in Favor of Family Farming in Developing Countries, in the Context of the International Year of Family Farming”. The project paved the way for us to know more about the policies on seed of the governments of Nepal and Bangladesh (South Asian countries where we
have members) as well as the regional intergovernment body in South Asia, the South Asia Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC).

Click here to download


April 30th, 2015

How can we create a sustainable future for Asia’s farmers?

RTX11JHM-layout-comp1-628x330“For the Asian Farmers Association, an alliance of national farmer organizations with members and partners in seven ASEAN countries (Philippines, Indonesia, Cambodia, Thailand, Myanmar, Laos and Vietnam), sustainable and inclusive growth means:

Production technologies that improve and enhance the soil’s health, promote biodiversity, reduce wastage and promote nutrient recycling, promote diversification and integration, build on local knowledge and wisdom, and allow farmers to continuously innovate

Marketing and distribution systems that are economically rewarding

Adequate access to finance, markets and information

Increased participation in the value chain; for example, in processing our products

Significant involvement in the decision-making processes of the partnership”

Read more


April 30th, 2015

Top 10 quotes from East Asia 2015

11031134_635025686628460_2205654044400445096_nFrom healthcare and human rights to farming and infrastructure, here is a round-up of some of the top quotes from the World Economic Forum on East Asia 2015, which took place in Jakarta, Indonesia, from 19-21 April.

Image: Estrella Penunia, Secretary General of AFA, in Grow Asia Press Conference at the World Economic Forum on East Asia in Jakarta, Indonesia, April 21, 2015. Copyright by World Economic Forum / Sikarin Fon Thanachaiary

Read more

April 27th, 2015

Mr. Nguyen Duy Luong, the First Vice – Chairman of VNFU met with Croplife Asia

thao_809609A(VNFU’s Website) – This afternoon (4th February), in Hanoi, the First Vice Chairman of VNFU Mr.Nguyen Duy Luong met and worked with the delegation from Croplife Asia headed by Ms. Thelma L. Soriano – Executive Director. Representatives from Today Countryside Newspaper, Administration Deparment and International Cooperation Department attended the Meeting.

At the meeting, Ms. Thelma expressed her desire to cooperate with VNFU in the widespread implementation of projects on planting genetically modified crops in Vietnam. Through the results of successful tested models, the project will disseminate among farmers to help them understand about the benefits of genetically modified crops compared with traditional crops.
The CropLife also suggested VNFU attending the Asian Farmers’ Exchange Program which will be held in Philippines. This is an exchange program for farmers in Asia to visit and learn experience about genetically modified crops which have been successfully piloted in the Philippines.
Ending the meeting, the Union agree to take part in the exchange visits.

By Thai Ha – Translator: Mai Huong

April 27th, 2015

Vietnam Farmers’ Union – Kume Hiryo Company (Japan) Cooperation in applied research, transfer of science and technology for agriculture, rural development

HNDVN1_8948B85(VNFU website) 13th January 2015 in Hanoi, VNFU and Kume Hiryo Company (Japan) has signed a memorandum of understanding on cooperation in applied research, transfer of science and technology for agriculture, rural development.

Vice Chairman Lai Xuan Mon and  Mr. Shimatani Keiji- General Director of Kume Hiryo Company signed a memorandum of understanding.

Attending the signing ceremony, from VNFU side, Chairman Nguyen Quoc Cuong, First Vice Chairman Nguyen Duy Luong, Vice Chairman Lai Xuan Mon, and leaders of departments; from Kume Hiryo side, Mr. Shimatani Keiji- General Director and representatives of the relevant departments.

Through the signing ceremony, VNFU and Kume Hyrio coordinated an activity program based on common interests in the field of agriculture, for the purpose of conducting research, transfer, applications of science and technology for agriculture, rural areas in Vietnam.

The two sides will establish collaborative relationships with related departments and agencies through applied research, short-term and long-term training, proposed research and transfer application of science and technology and agricultural extension services to promote eco-agriculture to increase agricultural production with international quality standards.

Giving the speech at the ceremony, Chairman of VNFU Nguyen Quoc Cuong emphasized: ” This is the first Collaborative project between VNFU and Japan. So hopefully the terms of the signed memorandum of understanding will be the basis for specifying the programs and plans for coordination between the two sides, and work together to turn ideas into reality to bring Vietnam agriculture closer to the advanced agriculture in the world.”


By Mai Anh – Translator: Quynh Hoa


April 20th, 2015

AFA holds learning exchange visit in Cambodia

visit collage 01The Asian Farmers’ Association for Sustainable Rural Development (AFA), in cooperation with Farmer and Nature Net (FNN), held a member-to-member cooperation and learning exchange visit last March 9-13, 2015 in Cambodia.

The visit was one of the activities under the project entitled “Advocacy for Increased Government Support for Sustainable Agriculture and Farmer-led Enterprises” funded by Agriterra.

Participants included Sidig Pamungkas, Manager of the Organic Rice Enterprise of APOLI (a local member organization of Aliansi Petani Indonesia or API in Central Java); Hasthanari Pamintasih, Finance staff of API and support staff/translator to farmer leaders’ representative; Sushma Neuphane, Youth woman entrepreneur and youth woman leader of National Land Rights Forum (NLRF); Jagat Deuja, Executive Director of Community Self-Reliance Center (CSRC); and, Victoria Serrato, Enterprise development and Marketing Officer of AFA.

The objective of the visit was for participants to learn different models, innovations and initiatives of members and their partners in aspects of organizational and enterprise management, commodity-specific industry, sustainable agriculture and market access as well as the model of members in delivering services to members.

Specifically, it aimed at sharing and learning from exchanges among participating organizations on good practices and innovations in managing and sustaining local enterprises; capturing lessons learned from exchanges and identifying opportunities for future collaboration; and, improving enterprise models and strategies based on learnings and insights during field visits.

The participants visited the organic rice enterprise of FNN and CEDAC where they learned about how farmers benefit from having an assured market with premium price for their organic rice.

They also went to an agricultural cooperative in Sithor Kandal district where they saw how the district level association implements several enterprises on savings and credit, construction of latrine, water filter system and rice milling enterprise.

Another visit was made to the Farmer and Water Net (FWN) federation of rice farmers at the district level, which manages an irrigation system and collectively sells rice to consumers.

Lastly, the participants also visited an organic vegetable producers’ group which sells its produce to the FNN-CEDAC organic enterprise.

The participants analyzed the lessons learned from these cases and created action plans to implement them in their own organizations in their respective countries.

March 23rd, 2015

Fighting Hunger through Partnerships: A Forum on Brazil’s Zero Hunger Program, Global Institutional Purchase, and the Philippines’ Partnership Against Hunger Project

bannerHow about increasing farmers/fishers’ income by 10-50% by combining nutrition and livelihood objectives through local sourcing of agri-fishery products from farmers/fishers’ organizations and institutional purchase by school and DSWD’s feeding program?

The Pambansang Kilusan ng mga Samahang Magsasaka (PAKISAMA), in cooperation with Asian Farmers’ Association for Sustainable Rural Development (AFA) and Collectif Strategies Alimentaire ( CSA), will hold a forum on Fighting Hunger through Partnerships on March 24, 2015 at the Institute for Social Order (ISO), Ateneo de Manila University, Quezon City, Philippines.

The forum hopes to provide a venue for representatives from government agencies, non-government organizations, research institutes, academe and particularly farmers’ organizations to exchange views and experiences on institutional purchase in the context of fighting hunger. In addition, the forum also hopes to provide space for networking and partnership building among various stakeholders leading to concrete areas for cooperation.

Experiences from Brazil’s Zero Hunger Program and the Philippines’ Partnership Against Hunger Project as well as global institutional purchase initiatives shall be highlighted. Resource persons from Brazil and Belgium will be joining to share their experiences.

March 13th, 2015

Video: Grassroots Foresight Training Workshop

video grassroots foresight training workshop


Click here to watch the video


Related Stories:

Farmer organizations learn participatory grassroots foresight for their communities

Empowering local organisations through foresight

AFA, GFAR conduct training workshop on grassroots foresight

March 12th, 2015

Soils for life (Farming Matters, March 2015)

soils for life farming matters 2015Healthy soils contribute to resilient food production. Soil carbon is a key to healthy soils but, today we see the long-term consequences of agricultural management that has neglected soil carbon – degraded soils, polluted waters, and unprecedented rates of hunger and malnutrition. There are good examples of agroecological practices that were developed by farmers who have long known the importance of soil carbon. Yet, in many cases these practices are being re-learnt, adapted and new practices are being developed to reconnect with the soil and rebuild soil carbon.

This issue of Farming Matters presents the experiences of farmers who are working successfully, together with others, to improve the health of their soil and their lives. The stories on these pages show that healthy soils increase farmers’ autonomy and long-term productivity. And, healthy soils also contribute to climate change adaptation and mitigation. We see that farmers are making use of local resources to build soil carbon, and in the process they are reducing their dependence on external inputs. This issue makes a call to listen to farmers and learn from their experiences on the land.

Click here to read the issue

March 11th, 2015

“Pamilyang Magsasaka” (IYFF Philippines Theme song with English sub-titles)

March 6th, 2015

Vicente “Ka Vic” Arraya Fabe (11 September 1956 – 2 March 2015)

ka vic in memoriam (banner) small


The body of farmer-leader Vicente “Ka Vic” Fabe has been brought to Manila to enable friends and colleagues in the farmers and social movement to pay their last respects. On March 6, 6:00 PM, a mass will be held at Santa Maria della Strada Parish Church, Pansol Avenue, Diliman, Quezon City. On March 7, 6:00 PM, another mass will be held followed by a tribute. The body will be brought back his hometown in Quezon province on March 8. The last wake will be on March 9, while the burial is on March 10.

Click here to download a short bio of Vicente “Ka Vic” Fabe

March 6th, 2015

Former AFA Treasurer and PAKISAMA Chairperson passes away

Dear AFA Members and Partners,

It is with deepest sorrow to inform you that Mr. Vicente Fabe, known to many of us as Ka Vic , ex-Chairperson of Pakisama, ex-Treasurer of AFA, died while having his afternoon nap yesterday, March 2, at his home in Sta Elena, Camarines Norte, about 257 kms away from Manila. We deeply mourn this sudden loss, the movement is poorer with his passing.

Many colleagues in the farmers movement in the Philippines have seen him grow as a young shy farmer in the late 1980’s to a highly respected, highly admired, staunch, fearless leader of the farmers’ movement in the Philippines. He has been a great inspiration to many , including us in the AFA secretariat, He thinks sharply, he argues soundly, and he creates poems spontaneously. Despite his various positions in government and CSO coalitions as farmer representative, he has remained simple, humble, unwavering and committed to the cause, always eager to serve and to improve his service for his fellow farmers. As a farmer leader, he has led many of Pakisama’s campaigns on land rights , sustainable agriculture, significant involvement in governance processes on agriculture, gender equality, and the recovery of the coconut levy funds. His last activity at the national level was his participation in the 3rd national coconut farmers conference a week ago, last Feb 25.

As the longest-standing member of the AFA Execom until 2013, his principles and skills in coalition work has helped position AFA in many networking activities as well as helped AFA decide soundly on many of its organizational matters .

For those of you who have FB accounts, you can look at the posts of Jun Virola to remember Ka Vic.

We ask for your prayers . We will appreciate any tribute to Ka Vic, as well as any support you might be willing to give for his bereaved wife and children.

Kind regards,


Click here to download a short bio of Vicente “Ka Vic” Fabe

February 23rd, 2015

Farmer organizations learn participatory grassroots foresight for their communities

The Asian Farmers’ Association for Sustainable Rural Development (AFA) and the Global Forum on Agricultural Research (GFAR) co-organized a workshop on empowering local organizations through foresight last February 2-7 in Quezon City, Philippines.

The workshop was attended by representatives from AFA, its member organizations Aliansi Petani Indonesia(API), Pambansang Kilusan ng Samahang Magsasaka (PAKISAMA) in the Philippines, and the Institute of Himalayan Environmental Research and Education (INHERE) in India.

Facilitating the workshop was Robin Bourgeois, Senior Foresight and Development Policies Expert at the GFAR Secretariat, who is working on strengthening GFAR’s role in foresight and for providing an open and multi-stakeholder space for dialogue and action on the future of agricultural research.

Click here for the blog report at the GFAR website
Click here for related news story at AFA website

February 16th, 2015

AFA Chairperson and Secretary General visit Aliansi Petani Indonesia

February 16th, 2015

Family farmers should be at the heart of all agriculture, food security and nutrition agendas

iyff penunia(Note: The appointment of all IYFF special ambassadors are renewed for the 2015 International Year of Soils ).

Interview with Ms. Estrella Penunia, International Year of Family Farming Special Ambassador

Ms. Estrella Penunia, or Esther, as she is known to colleagues, is Secretary General of the Asian Farmers’ Association (AFA), a regional alliance of national farmers organizations or FOs in Asia. Established in 2002, AFA is currently composed of fifteen national FOs in twelve countries, representing around 12 million small-scale farmers (both women and men).  

As a social development worker, Esther spent more than three decades working in the field of rural development alongside farmers, fishers and indigenous peoples as a community organizer, participatory action researcher, trainer, gender advocate, consultant, campaigns coordinator, NGO executive/manager and networker. Read the rest of this entry »

February 7th, 2015

Invitation to the Global Land Forum 2015

The Global Land Forum 2015 will be held on May 12-16, 2015 in Dakar, Senegal with the theme “LAND GOVERNANCE FOR INCLUSIVE DEVELOPMENT, JUSTICE AND SUSTAINABILITY: TIME FOR ACTION”.

Organized by the International Land Coalition (ILC), the forum is open to members and the public as well.

To register, visit http://www.globallandforum.org/

To respond to ILC’s extended call for membership, visit http://www.landcoalition.org/en/node/2424

Read the rest of this entry »

February 5th, 2015

AFA, GFAR conduct training workshop on grassroots foresight

DSC00312 2Feb 5, Quezon City, Philippines – In usual ways, the future of agriculture is shaped by the views of the international community, and organisations from advanced/emerging countries, many times with limited involvement of family farmers and their organizations. These futures usually address global issues. The processes of determining the futures, called foresight, oftentimes have limited application to local development.

However, there is a desire and a need for farmers and their organizations to also shape the future they want. How can foresight processes be more farmer-led, farmer-managed, and be more applicable to local developmental processes; and in so doing help empower farmers determine their future?

It is this question and need that prompted the Asian Farmers Association (AFA), with the support of the Global Forum on Agricultural Research (GFAR), to embark on a project that will implement local grassroots initiatives, to be piloted in three local areas, in three countries.

DSC00429 2AFA, with the support of GFAR, is currently conducting a “regional training workshop to implement grassroots foresight initiative”. The workshop is being held in Manila since Feb 2, and will run till Feb 6. Participants are 8 local trainers from India, Indonesia and the Philippines. Running on its fourth day today, the participants were able to already identify forces that can directly influence change as well as the resulting drivers of change through a simulation exercise.

The pilot areas for the grassroots foresight work and implementing partner organizations include: Central Himalayan region of India by INHERE (Institute of Himalayan Environmental Resources and Education), southern Palawan in Philippines by PAKISAMA, and in East Nusa Tenggara in Indonesia by API (Aliansi Petani Indonesia).

February 4th, 2015

Farmer uses social media to share information about pest

kulisapIreneo Cerilla, a farmer from Quezon, Philippines has found an innovative use of social media to help other farmers in his province and in the country.

He posted a photo of a “kulisap” (pest) called brontispa on his Facebook wall, with the following caption (translated from Filipino):

“This is the pest brontispa, which eats the coconut shoots while they are still white. Once the leaves fully develop, they are already brown and have no capacity for photosynthesis. The leaves then appear like mere sticks, and the coconut, known as the ‘tree of life,’ slowly dies.”

By sharing the photo and the information about the pest, he hopes other farmers will become more aware and take proactive measures to counter the pest.

Cerilla is also the president of PAKISAMA, a national federation of farmers in the Philippines, which is a member of AFA.

PAKISAMA trains its members on various sustainable agroecological pratices.