Farmer and Nature Net Executive Director Pan Sopheap from Cambodia visits Taiwanese farmer Mr. Chen to learn about the burdock industry. Mr. Chen is one of the Top 10 Farmers of 2013. (Photo courtesy of George Lin)
Dr. Wenchi Huang, Deputy Director of the Taiwan Wax Apple Development Association (TWADA), an AFA member in Taiwan, visited the AFA office in Quezon City, Philippines last January 25, 2013.
She was in the country to attend a Board meeting in AsiaDHRRA, a regional network of rural development NGOs in Asia, where she also sits as Chairperson.
Dr. Huang has been actively supporting TWADA in their production and marketing initiatives through the National Pingtung University of Science and Technology (NPUST), which has an ongoing partnership cooperation with the farmers’ association.
She has also attended various AFA meetings and has represented AFA in some conferences related to marketing and agribusiness.
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.
Taiwan’s Council of Agriculture (COA) says that agricultural exports grew by 23.6% or up to US$3.626 billion in 2010 due to economic recovery worldwide. Eels and dancing lady orchids grew biggest by 105 and 95 percent respectively, followed by butterfly orchids, grouper, and green soybeans by 33, 25, and 12 percent, respectively. Poor production of elver in Japan, South Korea, China and major Southeast Asian countries in early 2010 drove the growth of eels export, while faster and more efficient shipping of live fish to China through the Taiwan Strait, as well as the Shanghai World Expo in May-October fueled grouper export increase.
Several districts in Kaohsiung and Pingtung have been immersed in flood waters in the aftermath of typhoon Fanapi, which left Taiwan around six in the evening Sept. 19, the local media reported Monday.
Torrential rainfall brought by Fanapi resulted in floods in Nanzih, Zuoying, Gushan and Sanmin districts of Kaohsiung. The local government Sunday coordinated with military, carrying facilities such as generators, water pumps, boats and sandbags, to help residents in flooding area, the report said.
Several principal bridges connecting Kaohsiung and Pingtung were also closed, fearing any possible dangers out of the soaring river water, including Shuangyuan Bridge, Wanda Bridge and Liling Bridge. Any emergency needs, Kaohsiung citizens may call 1999, 2269595 for help or call 3215929 to get sandbags.
A Taiwan-China trade pact that took effect Sunday to pave the way for tariff cuts from next year has not cheered Taiwanese tea farmers, who are more concerned about the rising imports of pesticide-contaminated tea from China into Taiwan.
Although China is Taiwan’s largest tea export market, Lin Yu-ping, one of Taiwan’s many small tea farmers, believes it is unlikely that local farmers will be able to sell their premium products in China.
“Taiwan does not produce quality tea in large amounts, and cannot even meet local demand, ” she told CNA in a telephone interview Saturday.
A trade pact between China and Taiwan, widely seen as the most significant agreement since civil war divided them in 1949, has come into effect.
The Economic Co-operation Framework Agreement (ECFA) cuts tariffs on 539 Taiwanese exports to China and 267 Chinese products entering Taiwan.
The majority of people in Taiwan expect the deal to bring economic benefits.
But opponents fear it will make the island too dependent on China, which still considers it a renegade province.
Aug. 28 (CNA) Local opinion leaders from central Taiwan’s Taichung area called Saturday for locally grown fruit to be among the items received preferential tariff treatment from China while meeting a visiting Chinese official.
Legislator Yen Chin-piao and Taichung County Council Speaker Chang Ching-tang issued the call during a banquet with Zheng Lizhong, vice president of the quasi-official Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits, the Chinese body authorized to deal with Taiwan.
He is visiting Taiwan, however, in his capacity as deputy director of the Central Office of Taiwan Affairs of the Communist Party of China.
“Many Taichung farmers are very disappointed that their high-end products were not included on the first ‘early harvest list, ‘” Chang told the Central News Agency, referring to the list of items receiving favorable tariff treatment under the economic cooperation framework agreement (ECFA) signed with China in late June.
Chiang Tsai-lang’s dedication to growing guavas for more than 40 years has seen him create a wealth of varieties, making his 4,850-square-meter farm in central Taiwan a “museum of guava” and a must-see attraction for anyone interested in his unique growing and cultivation techniques.
In addition to the common varieties of guava, the 68-year-old’s farm in Changhua County’s Yuanlin Township boasts such oddities as purple guavas and guavas that look like watermelons on the inside. To identify each variety, Chiang tags his trees with labels in various colors.
Chiang began to study farm management, pest control and growing techniques after becoming the first head of a local guava production and marketing group in 1989, and his work won him an “Outstanding Farmer” award from the Council of Agriculture in 2006.
The signing of the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) this summer has opened the door for Taiwan’s agricultural and fishery exports and energized the government.
At the same time, however, the Chinese government is setting up “innovation parks for Taiwanese farmers” and “experimental areas for cross-strait agricultural cooperation” with the intention of attracting skilled personnel, animal and plant species, technology and capital in an attempt to emulate the Taiwanese experience.
The resulting agricultural products would have the advantages of Taiwanese species, realistic pricing and stable supply. They would attract Chinese consumers far more than agricultural products from Taiwan, and the negative impact on Taiwanese farmers would by far surpass the advantages that would come from the import tax exemptions offered on 18 products.
Read the full story at Taipei Times
Kaohsiung, June 10 (CNA) Kaohsiung City in southern Taiwan is cooperating with an online shopping platform to help businesses promote local produce and food online, Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu said Thursday.
The city government said 25 local businesses selling fruit, sweet and snacks have set up online shops with help from the Kaohsiung office of Japan’s biggest online shopping platform, Rakuten. The businesses also enjoy good deals from the Internet platform in terms of online shop fees, according to the officials.
Taipei, June 8 (CNA) More Taiwanese want to be farmers than own mansions, according to a survey by a local business weekly.
“That tells me people value a spiritual life, and want to sustain a life on their own, ” said Liou Wei-gong, an associate professor of sociology at Soochow University in Taipei.
The survey, published in Business Today’s May 24 issue, found that of 1,183 respondents over 21 years old, 5.1 percent said they dreamt of being farmers, while only 2.5 percent dreamt of owning a mansion.
In the recently concluded 4th AFA General Assembly last April 23 in Ping Tung, Taiwan, the new officers of the Executive Committee for 2010-2015 were sworn into office.
The new leaders of AFA are as follows:
Chairperson – Mr. Tsai, Shun-Te, TWADA (Taiwan)
Vice-Chairperson – Ms. Jang, Jeong-Ok, WAFF (South Korea)
Treasurer (appointed) – Mr. Vicente Fabe, PAKISAMA (Philippines)
Secretary General (appointed) – Ms. Ma. Estrella Penunia
After a 2-day strategic planning workshop held in Ping Tung, Taiwan which was highlighted by an analysis of its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT), a review of its progress vis-a-vis its strategic objectives in the last 5 years (2006-2010), as well as its mission, vision, goals, and 8-point peasant agenda (now 9-point peasant agenda), AFA farmer leaders and staff crafted the broad framework for its strategic plans for 2011-2015.
The framework centers around 3 main strategic objectives of (1) maximizing support of partners (CSOs, government and intergovernmental bodies, other FOs) in the promotion of AFA’s agenda by increasing networking activities and forging concrete partnership projects; (2) strengthening capacities of AFA in Knowledge Management; and (3) building a more sustainable, stronger AFA through a small-farmer centered governance and diversified financing.
The Asian Farmers’ Association for Sustainable Rural Development (AFA), held its Fourth General Assembly, with the theme “Sustaining our Gains, Nourishing our Work” on April 20-23 at the National Pingtung University of Science and Technology (NPUST) in Taiwan.
The event was hosted by the Taiwan Wax Apple Development Association (TWADA) in cooperation with NPUST.
The highlights of the General Assembly was a review of AFA’s 2006-2010 strategic plan, as well as the crafting of its 2011-2015 strategic plan.
TAOYUAN, Taiwan — Taiwan and China held a new round of talks on a contentious trade pact Wednesday as protesters wary of the island’s closer ties with the mainland scuffled with police and rival demonstrators.
A group of about 100 anti-China demonstrators gathered as representatives of the two sides met in a hotel in Taoyuan near the island’s capital, but were kept back by a cordon of uniformed police.
“We should protect Taiwan’s sovereignty and Taiwan’s own future,” said Chang Jaw-liang, one of the protest organisers. “Taiwan should not lean towards China.”
One woman set a Chinese flag ablaze, while scores of protesters holding placards opposing “unification” briefly clashed with pro-China supporters before police separated them.
The two-day Taoyuan meeting is the second round of formal talks on the planned pact and will focus on drawing up a list of industries entitled to preferential tariff treatment as soon as the agreement comes into force.
The pact, known as the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement, has set off a great deal of debate in Taiwan, which has governed itself since 1949.
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Economics Minister Shih Yen-shiang cut short a report about plans for the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement with China Wednesday after lawmakers demanded more details about accompanying measures first.
A second official round of cross-straits talks about the project is expected to take place in Taipei next week, with the signing of the agreement expected in May or June despite strong opposition from within Taiwan.
The Legislative Yuan Economics Committee said Shih could only present his report after he provided details about government measures to accompany ECFA and a clear explanation of the early harvest list.
Taipei, March 1, 2010 (CENS)–Taiwan and China are scheduled to enter substantive discussion on the so-called early-harvest list, or priority items for mutual market opening, during the second talk on cross-Taiwan Strait Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) in Taipei earlier this month.
Despite inevitable give and take, both sides are expected to iron out their differences and reach agreement eventually, especially in view of the good-will gesture made by Chinese leaders recently, particularly on the thorniest issue regarding import of Chinese agricultural products into Taiwan.
Taipei, Feb. 9 (CNA) President Ma Ying-jeou sought to allay concerns Tuesday about a proposed trade pact between Taiwan and China in his first press conference to report on the progress in the trade talks.
Ma said the pact, which has raised widespread concerns among the public that it will hit the country’s traditional and agricultural sectors hard, is aimed at helping the people of Taiwan do business and enhancing Taiwan’s competitiveness.
Speaking in Mandarin Chinese, Taiwanese and Hakka during the 45-minute press briefing — a gesture commonly seen during local election campaigns in an attempt to win the hearts of people in central and southern Taiwan — he also said that Vice President Vincent Siew and Premier Wu Den-yih, who speak better Taiwanese than he does, will visit central and southern Taiwan to communicate the government’s views in Taiwanese.
Ma promised that his government will not allow the import of Chinese workers or more Chinese agricultural products into Taiwan.
Taipei, Feb. 4 (CNA) Taiwan’s government will provide monetary compensation for farmers who have left their rice paddies fallow to save water due to a looming drought, the Council of Agriculture’s Agriculture and Food Agency said Thursday.
Farmers who halted irrigation for rice cultivation and converted their farm for growing drought-reistant green manures will be given the monetary compensation, the agency added.
The compensation will be up to NT$80,000 for each hectare of such rice fields, the agency said.
To ensure adequate water supplies for household and industrial use, rice cultivation in parts of southern Taiwan was suspended for the first harvest of this year, according to the agency.
The compensation figures were derived from the calculation of 105 percent of the average income each farming household makes from one hectare of rice paddy last year, which stood at NT$72,821.