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.

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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

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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

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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.]

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

Empowering small scale women and men farmers in Asia