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.
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.
AFA joined other farmer organizations implementing the Medium Term Cooperation Program Phase Two (MTCP2) in Asia and the Pacific in celebrating gains in the first year of implementation of a trailblazing program to strengthen their capacities to engage in policy dialogues and deliver services to their members, discuss some issues and prepare future plans of action. (See Annex: Asia Pacific farmer organizations celebrate gains of cooperation program in Hanoi meeting)
Marek Poznanski of Collectif Stratégies Alimentaires (CSA), a Brussels-based development NGO specialized in agricultural and food policy issues, as well as an agri-agency member of Agricord, is meeting with the Asian Farmers’ Association this week in order to discuss some cooperation projects for farmers and farmer organizations in the region. One is on institutional buying, also known as public procurement, while another is on knowledge sharing and innovation on sustainable agro-enterprises.
Tagaytay City, Philippines, April 13, 2013 – Fourteen farmers, five of them women, all members of the National Council (NC) of PAKISAMA (National Confederation of Farmers Organizations), AFA member in the Philippines, together with its national secretariat and regional coordinators, started today a four day orientation workshop in Tagaytay City, aimed to level-off on basic tenets of the organization, roles and functions of each governing and management structure, and to set directions of the organization for the next three years.
The first day of the orientation was spent on getting to know each other better, clarifying expectations between and among different levels of organization(e.g. secretariat, officers, council members) through a team-building exercise (e.g. secretariat, officers, council members), reviewing the core principes of authentic humanism and active non-violence, and levelling off on international and national situation of farmers, agriculture and sustainable development general. AFA Secretary General Esther Penunia gave inputs on the engagement of AFA in international policy advocacy work and Pakisama’s current involvement in it, especially in advocacy for land rights, sustainable agriculture and farmers’ market power, particularly in GAFSP, MTCP and in the celebration of the International Year of Family Farming in 2014.
The new set of NC leaders were elected during its 8th national congress, held last Feb 20-22, 2013 in Quezon City. Like in previous Congresses, the NC leaders were elected by each island region (Luzon, Visayas, Mindanao), each region having five slots, with one slot given to a woman and another slot to a fisher. But unlike in previous Congresses, the President , Vice President and the committee heads are now elected from among the NC members. Elected for a three year term were Benedicto “Benny” Aquillo as Chairperson and Ireneo “Rene” Cerilla as President.
The last Congress also celebrated Pakisama’s 26th year, where it gave plaques of appreciation to organizations and individuals who have supported it from its founding years. AFA received one for its contribution to PAKISAMA’s international work.
The World Consultative Committee (WCC) for the International Year of Family Farming (IYFF) 2014 met last January 29-30, 2013 in Rome, Italy to strategize for a meaningful celebration of the UN-declared year of family farming in 2014. The meeting was attended by 27 individuals representing 14 member organizations in the continents of Africa, Asia, Europe, Americas, and Oceania. AFA was represented by Mr. Socrates Banzuela, National Coordinator of PAKISAMA, its member in the Philippines. The meeting was organized by World Rural Forum (WRF), the NGO who has coordinated the campaign of an IYFF since 2006.
During the meeting, the WCC members agreed that (1) the year belongs to everybody, and that IYFF-2014 is an opportunity to work towards common goals while recognizing and appreciating diversity; (2) farmers organizations will lead the IYFF-2014 and will lead the WCC; (3) national level is the key level of action; (4) all interested organizations will be invited to participate in national level committees and actions.
The WCC is the civil society process for IYFF while another process is being undertaken by FAO, which was mandated by the UN to take charge of the celebration of the family farming year. A meeting took place between WCC members and FAO and IFAD to discuss ways of working together. The WCC will be in charge of ensuring that there are activities related to IYFF-2014 at global level, while regional organizations in WCC will lead and ensure the existence of regional and national level initiatives.
Bangkok, Thailand – AFA promoted the International Year of Family Farming during a global panel discussing health and food security at the Prince Mahidol Award Conference (PMAC) 2013 Main Conference held at Centara Grand and Bangkok Convention Center at Central World on January 31-February 2, 2013.
PMAC is an annual conference attended by a wide-range of experts and development players focusing on issues in public health. This year’s theme is “A world united against infectious disease: cross-sectoral solutions.”
The event was attended by around 1,000 participants from across the globe.
AFA joined the panel “Contribution of the One Health Paradigm to Food Security” moderated by Dr. David Nabarro, UN Senior Coordinator for Avian and Pandemic Influenza and Special Representative on Food Security and Nutrition.
Ms. Lany V. Rebagay, Policy Adovacy Officer of AFA, spoke about the role of small-scale farming in ensuring health, nutrition and food security. She said that “small-scale farmers feed the world and care for the earth.”
This is also the theme of the International Year of Family Farming (IYFF), which the UN declared after a worldwide campaign by a broad range of CSOs anchored by the World Rural Forum (WRF) and actively participated in by AFA.
She pointed out that in the discussion of One Health paradigm, a multi-sectoral collaboration to address health concerns integrating human-animal-environment dimension, participation of small-scale farmers is crucial.
She also asserted that small-scale women and men farmers feed 70% of the world’s population while ensuring environmental sustainability through agro-ecological farming systems that also ensure a diverse source of micronutrients that support sustainable diet.
AFA attended the second MTCP Steering Committee meeting for South Asia and Southeast Asia plus China last December 18, 2012 in Bangkok, Thailand. The meeting was convened to review the reports of the IFAD Supervision and Implementation Support (SIS) mission on the implementation experiences of MTCP (2009-2012) in the ten countries it covers. The review drew lessons learned, which were shared with IFAD as a major financer for possible scaling up.
Since June 2009, the Medium Term Cooperation Programme (MTCP) funded by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and coordinated at the regional level by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has been implemented in two sub-regions, namely Southeast Asia plus China and South Asia. The goal of the MTCP is to improve the livelihoods of rural poor producers, and its purpose is to enable small farmers’ organizations in the Asia and Pacific region and their networks to influence policies affecting their members. As an active member of the Global Farmers’ Forum, AFA, together with other regional/international FOs, pioneered the promotion of MTCP within IFAD.
IFAD initially expressed commitment to support MTCP phase 2. AFA expressed appreciation for IFAD’s effort to strengthen solidarity and cooperation among farmers. In line with this, AFA pushed for a more FO-led MTCP 2 as manifested by an institutional arrangement that allows FOs to manage and coordinate various activities not only at the national level but also at the sub-regional and regional levels.
Bangkok, Thailand – AFA successfully concluded its 27th Executive Committee meeting under its new Chairperson, Mr. Uon Sophal, President of Farmer and Nature Net (FNN) in Cambodia.
The meeting was dove-tailed with a regional consultation on agricultural research for development that was co-organized with APAARI.
The ExeCom appreciated the able facilitation of the meeting by the new Chairperson and the clear financial reporting by the new AFA Treasurer, Rifai, Finance Officer of Aliansi Petani Indonesia (API).
Bangkok, Thailand – With limited resources available for their work, the need to track or monitor more closely the impact of farmer organizations and coops at the national, regional and international levels have never been more important.
Thus, the Asian Farmers’ Association (AFA), in cooperation with its partners, resolve to develop further a social auditing tool that will help them do this.
AFA, together with the Asian Partnership for the Development of Human Resources in Rural Asia (AsiaDHRRA), organized a focused group discussion (FGD) on Agricord’s Farmers’ Fighting Poverty (FFP) last Setember 8-9, 2012 at the First Hotel in Bangkok, Thailand.
The FGD gathered farmer leaders of AFA and other partners from the cooperative sector and regional groups focusing on women and rural development.
The participants had a rich discussion on the impact indicators related to the work of farmers organizations/cooperatives.
One important action point identified during the FGD was for AFA in cooperation with other partners to develop further the social auditing tool that will track/monitor the impact of its FOs both at the local, national, regional and international level.
The FO social auditing tool shall then be piloted in AFA members and can be further fine-tuned based on the result of the piloting.
AFA sees the impact indicators as useful guide for building the capacity of its member FOs and in knowing what support it needs from Agricord.
The Asian Farmers’ Association for Sustainable Rural Development (AFA) held various activities and decided on important matters on its recently concluded 5th general assembly, which was also a celebration of its 10th anniversary.
Vietnam Farmers Union (VNFU) hosted the event in Hanoi, Vietnam last March 9, 2012 back-to-back with regional farmers’ consultations on March 7-8 and a CSO consultation on the 31st FAO APRC that AFA attended on March 10-11.
The series of events officially opened on March 7 with a cultural presentation from a Vietnamese folk group, who also performed traditional songs and dances with participants from different Asian countries, and with welcome speeches from VNFU Vice-Chairperson Dr. Nguyen Duy Luong and incumbent AFA Chairperson Mr. Tsai, Shun-Te.
Around 45 representatives from 12 farmer organizations and partner NGOs from 10 Asian countries, such as API (Aliansi Petani Indonesia), FNN (Farmer and Nature Net) in Cambodia, VNFU (Vietnam Farmers Union), SorKorPor (Farmer’s Federations Association for Development Thailand), PAKISAMA (Pambansang Kilusan ng mga Samahang Magsasaka) in the Philippines, AINOUKAI in Japan, KAFF (Korea Advanced Farmers’ Federation) and WAFF (Women Advanced Farmers’ Federation) in South Korea, TWADA (Taiwan Wax Apple Development Association), TDFA (Taiwan Dairy Farmers Association), KKM (Kendrio Krishok Moitre) and Action Aid in Bangladesh, NLRF (National Land Rights Forum) and CSRC (Community Self-Relience Centre) in Nepal attended the event, and ADRA (Adventist Development and Relief Agency) in Mongolia.
Representatives from partner agencies, such as Nellie van der Pasch of Agriterra, Ignace Coussement of Agricord, Thomas Price of GFAR (Global Forum on Agricultural Research), Marlene Ramirez of AsiaDHRRA, Jose Osaba of WRF (World Rural Forum), Michael Commons of Green Net, and Dinah Fuentisima of WSPA (World Society for the Protection of Animals) also graced the occasion.
Review of accomplishments and decisions
Opening with a video showing photos of the past four general assemblies of AFA, the 5th general assembly reviewed AFA’s accomplishments in the last two years (2010-2011) vis-a-vis the strategic plans it set for 2011-2015, while member FOs gave updates on their respective organizational activities.
The assembly also heard, discussed and adopted the Chairperson’s report regarding the administration and activities of AFA and confirmed decisions made by the Executive Committee in between general assemblies.
Exhibit, field visit, and courtesy call
As part of AFA’s knowledge sharing activities, each AFA member organization also put up an exhibit of its country’s agricultural products and traditional processed foods just outside the meeting room, where participants exchanged information on the items on display.
On March 8, participants also went on a field visit to an organic farming project, which is run mainly by women farmers.
It was followed by a short meeting with the VNFU chairperson and other leaders at the VNFU headquarters in a new building in Hanoi, where the two sides shared their aspirations and activities for farmers.
Two-year thrusts, new members, and new officers
The 5th General Assembly set the thrusts of AFA for the next two years, focusing mainly on governance and organizational development, capacity building, knowledge management, and policy advocacy.
The assembly welcomed AFA’s first two member FOs from South Asia — KKM (Kendrio Krishok Moitre) in Bangladesh and NLRF (National Land Rights Forum) in Nepal — whose applications for regular membership were previously approved by the AFA Execom.
It also determined the new set of Executive Committee members for 2012-2014, which in turn elected the new set of officers.
Through a collegial process that follows the tradition of leadership rotation, the Execom elected FNN President Uon Sophal as the new AFA Chairperson, the representative from Ainoukai as Vice-Chaiperson and the representative from API as Treasurer, while re-appointing Esther Penunia as Secretary General.
10th year anniversary, international women’s day, and tribute to farmer leaders
The general assembly was also an occasion for celebration and commemoration.
AFA celebrated its 10th year of existence through an exhibit of agricultural products, solidarity night, ritual of mixing and distributing traditional rice varieties from each Asian country, reading of solidarity statements from partners, awarding of plaques of appreciation, launching of a draft anniversary video and banners containing 10 themes, and the announcement of a plan to come out with a coffee table book highlighting AFA’s important achievements and future plans.
AFA also celebrated International Women’s Day during the field visit, courtesy call to VNFU headquarters, and solidarity night on March 8.
The Women Advanced Farmers’ Federation (WAFF), AFA’s first and so far only FO member composed solely of women, gave away gifts to women farmers during the field visit to the organic farming project.
VNFU’s Chairperson and other leaders also presented gifts to all AFA women during the courtesy call at the VNFU headquarters.
AFA’s women were again honored during the solidarity night, where they were given roses and asked to share their sentiments about the occasion.
Finally, the general assembly also set aside a special time to commemorate the heroism and martyrdom of farmer leaders in AFA who have died in the struggle for farmers’ rights.
The life and death of farmer leaders Lee Kyung Hae of South Korea; Vicente Paglinawan, Renato Penas, and Florita Caya of the Philippines; and women farmers Lamlaya Chamchamagar and Janak Kumari Chaudhary who died during the land rights campaign in Nepal were presented at the opening of the general assembly, followed by a moment of silence and a dedication of the event to their memory.
PRESS STATEMENT (Contact: soc banzuela,434 2079)
PAKISAMA Statement Condemning the Assassination of Another PAKISAMA Leader, Florita “Nang Flor” Caya
The Pambansang Kilusan ng mga Samahang Magsasaka (PAKISAMA) condemns in strongest possible terms the April 27 dastardly assassination of Florita “Nang Flor” Caya (58), General Manager of a local indigenous peoples’ organization (UTCEL) and Vice-President of a national rural peasant women organization (LAKAMBINI) affiliated to PAKISAMA Confederation. According to police autopsy/investigation, at 7 PM of April 27, 2011, while tending her store at the poblacion of Monkayo, Compostela Valley, Florita “Nang Flor” Caya (58) was shot at the back of her head. Her face just below the right eye was blown away. Witnesses saw a man hurriedly walking away from the store and quickly riding at the back of a motorcycle driven by another man.
Nang Flor was a newly-elected general manager of Unified Tribal Council of Elders and Leaders (UTCEL), a group of indigenous peoples (Mandaya, Manobo, Mangguangan & Dibabawon) awarded in 2004 by the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) a Certificate of Ancestral Domain Title covering 30,468 hectares in 14 barangays of Monkayo, Compostela Valley.
“This is too much! Why Nang Flor!” exclaimed Vicente Fabe, Chairperson of PAKISAMA, a national peasant confederation with presence in 42 provinces in the country. Nang Flor is the third national leader of PAKISAMA, all hailing from Mindanao, gunned down by assassins in a span of two and a half years. Vicente Paglinawan (November 22, 2008) from Davao City and Renato Penas (July 5, 2009) from Sumilao, Bukidnon were assassinated in their respective villages at the height of a campaign for the passage of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program Extension with Reforms (CARPER) law. Until now, their killers have not been brought to justice.
The Asian Farmers’ Association for Sustainable Development (AFA) held a sharing and learning session and 25th Executive Committee meeting in Kampong Cham, Cambodia last April 5-7, 2011.
The back-to-back activities were hosted by Farmer and Nature Net (FNN), an AFA member in Cambodia.
It was attended by nine farmer organizations from seven countries such as TWADA and TDFA (Taiwan), KAFF and WAFF (Korea), VNFU (Vietnam), SORKORPOR (Thailand), FNN (Cambodia), API (Indonesia), and PAKISAMA (Philippines). AINOUKAI (Japan) could not send a representative due to the nuclear crisis that has affected some of its members from Fukushima who had to evacuate to AINOUKAI in Mie.
The sharing and learning session, held on April 5, allowed farmer leaders to share problems and initiatives related to sustainability, water, women, youth, and marketing issues.
Mr. Uon Sophal, FNN President, welcomed all participants to Cambodia and AFA members said a prayer for AINOUKAI and all the Japanese people during the opening session.
The Execom meeting, on the other hand, was held on April 6 and led to several decisions on important matters such as AFA’s strategic plan for 2011-2015, annual plan for 2011, AFA’s membership at the World Rural Forum and Civil Society Mechanism on CFS, as well as its participation in the Medium Term Cooperation Program.
Mr. Tsai, Shun-Te, TWADA Chairperson, presided over the Execom meeting for the first time since he was elected as AFA Chairperson last April 2010 in Taiwan.
On April 7, a field visit was made to a village in Kampong Cham where farmers were being victimized by land grabbing.
Brasilia, Brazil – The fourteenth meeting of REAF (Reuniao Especializada Sobre Agricultura Familiar no Mercosul or Commission on Family Farming in the Southern Cone Common Market) was held last November 15-19 in Brasilia, Brazil. MERCOSUL is an intergovernmental regional integration body comprising the countries of Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay with associate (expanded) countries of Bolivia , Chile , Colombia, Equador and Peru.
AFA Secretary General Esther Penunia observed the meeting, as invited by COPROFAM, a regional organization of women and men family farmers in expanded REAF.
A key program highlighted during the 14th REAF was Brazil’s Zero Hunger Program, launched in 2003 under President Lula de Silva. The program had two main intervention axes: (1) actions for extending access to food by the low income population together with the recovery of minimum wage and of employment; and (2) strengthening family farming.
Family farmers are recognized as the majority of farmers in MERCOSUL as well as the ones primary responsible for the food supply in the domestic market.
On November 17, a visit to a participating farmers’ dairy cooperative named Chegada a Cooperativa Agro-Pecuaria de Sao Sebastiao Ltd (COPAS) was held. This cooperative produces daily 15,000 liters of fresh milk through modern pastuerization system . Part of the milk produce is sold to the government for its school feeding program , while other parts are sold as beverages in local markets. Esther briefly shared the success of two AFA members: the Taiwan Dairy Farmers Association, who was able to help increase the incomes of dairy farmers through technology and marketing support and engaging the government for favorable price policies; and the Pecuaria Development Cooperative in the Philippines, a cooperative of agrarian reform beneficiaries who was able to penetrate the biggest supermarket chain in the country for its organic rice.
A visit was also made to a local school participating in the government’s school feeding program as well as to another association of fruit and vegetable producers called Chegada a Associacao dos Produtores de Alexandre Gusmao (ASPAG), also participating in the Zero Hunger Program.
Many of the activities during the 14th REAF meeting were workshop and plenary sessions on the topics: gender, access to land, climate change, and access to markets.
(Photos by Hector Torres from Chile)
Brasilia, November 13, 2010 – The meeting for the International Year of Family Farming Campaign (IYFF) for the American continent, was held last November 13-14, in Brasilia, Brazil.
The meeting brought together over 80 representatives (around 30% of whom are women) of peasant organizations and rural NGOs and experts in family agriculture of 13 countries in America, and representatives of the governments of Brazil, Chile and Paraguay.
The meeting was organized by the World Rural Forum (WRF), COPROFAM, a regional alliance of national farmers organization in 7 countries in MERCOSUR, and CONTAG, the national peasant and rural workers federation in Brazil, who also served as local host.
During the opening ceremonies, AFA’s Secretary General, Esther Penunia, gave a solidarity statement.
“We have the same concerns and the same aspirations… We want to work and journey with you for a UN declaration for an international year for family farming… Together, we can achieve this goal,” Ms. Penunia said.
The Asia meeting for the IYFF campaign was held in March, in New Delhi, India.
The American IYFF meeting resulted in concrete policy proposals on six thematic areas: rights to land and other natural productive resources, access to markets and trade policies, rural women, access to technology and its adaptation to family farming, agricultural production and climate change, agricultural associations and agricultural policies.
(Photos taken by Hector Torres, Chile)
As initial members of the Philippine Working Group for the IFAD-FAO Medium Term Cooperation Project on Capacity Building for Farmers Organizations in the Philippines (MTCP-Phils), the Pambansang Kilusan ng mga Samahang Magsasaka (PAKISAMA), the Free Farmers’ Federation (FFF), and the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) co-organized the Philippine Farmers’ Forum (Phil FaFo) 2010 last November 8-10 in Quezon City, Philippines.
Representatives from 13 national farmers’ organizations (FOs) included in the initial mapping activity of PAKISAMA, FFF, and KMP in the Philippines attended the forum, which tackled three pressing issues currently facing the farmers’ sector: (1) access to land and productive resources; (2) food security and sustainable agriculture amidst climate change; and (3) access to market/trade.
The forum also included a discussion on the MTCP project and how the FOs (farmers’ organizations) can be better involved in the project and strengthen their engagement with the country offices of the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), as well as with the national government.
Continue reading Philippine farmers’ groups hold national forum
AFA shared the perspectives of small men and women farmers in Asia during the meeting of Agricord to discuss the next phase of the Farmers’ Fighting Poverty (FFP) last October 6, 2010 in Brussels, Belgium.
Due to visa problems, AFA was not able to send its representative to the meeting, so it recorded a video message that was shown during the meeting and sent a paper that was also distributed to the meeting participants.
The meeting was a dialogue between farmer leaders from developing countries and farmer leaders from the OECD farmers’ organizations that are active within Agricord.
Agricord is starting a new phase of the Farmers’ Fighting Poverty and wanted to share the new developments with farmers’ organizations.
The discussion included the specificity of the farmer-to-farmer work (organized farmers with organized farmers) and the central theme of poverty and entrepreneurship and what it means for organized farmers, how farmers fight poverty.
In the video message and the paper that was sent, AFA Secretary General Esther Penunia highlighted the reasons why farmers remain poor, what farmers belonging to AFA are doing to fight poverty, and AFA’s agreement with the thrust of the FFP to focus its support directly to farmers organizations (FOs).