Promoting the 2015 International Year of Soils, AFA, La Via Campesina, ANFPa and PIFON, with support from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and Swiss Development Cooperation (SDC), have produced a calendar for the Asia Pacific Farmers’ Forum (also known as MTCP2), copies of which have been distributed to national implementing agencies (NIAs) of the program.
In line with the IYS theme of “Healthy Soils for a Healthy Life,” the calendar emphasizes that “The soil is a living system which sustains humanity. Family farmers keep the soils healthy and fertile through sustainable, agro ecological and organic approaches. Land is life, livelihood and culture. Respect, promote, protect and fulfill the family farmers’ rights to their lands and forests.”
It calls for support to family farmers in Asia and Pacific to help them unleash their potentials for poverty reduction, food sovereignty and nutrition security.
Majority of the world’s family farmers are in Asia, and they are also the majority of the world’s poorest. Asia is also home to many successful farmer-led agriculture innovations. The IYFF is an opportunity to highlight the situation and initiatives of small scale farmers in Asia as well as to strengthen engagement with policy makers in enacting favorable policies for family farmers.
International Climate Change Negotiations: Ensuring Support for Adaptation and Mitigation Measures in Smallholder Agriculture, Vol. 2 No. 4, December 2009.
In December 2009, women in Sayphusi, a village in the province of Attapeu in Laos, were busy washing dried mud from their paddy grains. They had very little to eat, and the muddied paddy – the only remnant from their rice crops which were damaged by the storm that struck their village in October – was the only food available. The storm caught them unaware and swept away their homes, crops and livestock.
Laos is a landlocked country and is very rarely visited by typhoons. But lately, farmers have noticed a lot of changes in the season. Like many countries in Southeast Asia, they can no longer rely on the natural flow of the seasons to guide their planting. It rains when it is not supposed to rain, and many times, the dry period stays longer and is much warmer than expected.
By Karen Hansen-KuhnYang Saing Koma, (CEDAC/FNN); Tony Santos, PAKISAMA; Ika Krshnayanti, API
Published October 14, 2011
Rising food prices, climate change and food riots have put agriculture high on the international agenda. Too much of the current policy debate focuses narrowly on increasing the volume of food, and assumes that industrial agriculture and biotechnology are the only options for feeding a growing global population. Alternatives do exist. The Asian Farmers’ Association for Sustainable Development and the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy have produced a new report documenting successful approaches in three countries:
– In Cambodia, the Center for Studies and Development of Cambodian Agriculture (CEDAC) and Farmer Nature Net (FNN) have promoted the System of Rice Intensification (SRI), increasing rice production by 61 percent, bolstering incomes, reducing chemical fertilizers and using water resources more efficiently. The groups have educated local officials on the program’s success. Now more than 130,000 farmers are involved, and the Ministry of Agriculture is seeking to expand SRI throughout Cambodia.
– In the Philippines, the local agroecology movement emerged as an element of resistance to the Marcos regime and the dominance of transnational corporations in local production. Since then, national farm networks, working with local NGOs and the faith community, carried out public campaigns to reclaim Philippine agriculture and to develop appropriate organic agriculture standards.
– In Indonesia, members of Boyolali Organic Rice Farmers Association (APPOLI) and the Indonesian Peasant Alliance (API) joined forces to make organic certification processes affordable and culturally acceptable to farmers while meeting consumers’ needs. Learning from similar approaches in Brazil, the networks developed a local Participatory Guarantee System to ensure farmers get a fair price, while consumers are able to buy organic goods at lower cost.
Agroecology and Advocacy: Innovations in Asia is available at www.asianfarmers.org and www.iatp.org.
Excerpt from the Strategy Paper:
“The past nine years, 2002-2010, have seen us struggling to take root and make ourselves known and heard at the international, regional, and national levels as a regional alliance of small scale women and men farmers’ organizations (FOs) in Asia. Slowly but surely, our efforts are paying off.
Our alliance, the Asian Farmers’ Association for Sustainable Rural Development (AFA), began in 2002 as a coming together of farmers’ organizations (FOs) that are partners of AsiaDHRRA (Asian Partnership for the Development of Human Resources in Rural Asia), a regional NGO network. Leaders of these FOs participated in the five farmers’ exchange visits AsiaDHRRA organized in 1998-2002 with funding support from MISEREOR and the ASEAN Foundation. In these visits, we learned of our common aspirations, experiences, and struggles. We, therefore, decided to forge an alliance in order to effectively and efficiently address our common issues, and fight for a better quality of life for ourselves, our families, and our communities.
From an informal gathering of five national FOs from Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, South Korea and Philippines in 2002, under the facilitation of AsiaDHRRA, we have grown into a fully registered, autonomous alliance of ten FOs from eight Asian countries by December 2010. Our five additional members are one from Cambodia, one from Japan, two from Taiwan, and another one from South Korea. ”
Excerpt from the Brochure:
“We are a regional alliance of national federations and organizations of small scale women and men farmers and producers.
We were established in 2002 after a series of farmers’ exchange visits (FEVs) organized by our strategic NGO partner, AsiaDHRRA (Asian Partnership for the Development of Human Resources in Rural Asia).
In these five FEVs, conducted over three years, we saw the great need to come, share, learn and act together towards our common desire for a better quality of life for ourselves, our families, and our farming communities.
AFA invites national farmers’ organizations as members and works with NGOs in facilitating the formation of national farmers’ organizations and in continuously building their capacities.
It convenes a General Assembly every two years and an Executive Committee meeting every semester.”
Farmers’ Regional Trade Agenda: Farmers’ Collective Voice on Trade in the ASEAN Region, Vol. 2 No. 3, October 2009.
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has been trying hard to go into free trade agreements (FTAs) with different countries. It believes that this will increase trade and help members sell their export products to more markets in other countries. It also wants to make ASEAN the world’s center of agricultural production. But in opening up markets and increasing trade, more imported goods from other countries can also come in.
These FTAs were supposed to be good for farmers, but actually, farmers have not been benefitting from these opportunities. From the experience of some countries, farmers benefit from FTAs only if they can compete in the international market and if they own land and other resources for production so that they can have the power to decide on what to plant on the land and how to use the resources.
Policies like FTAs have big impacts on farmers and agriculture, so it is important that farmers are able to voice their concerns and suggest ways to protect their sector and make sure that agriculture is developing.
This issue paper presents a regional trade agenda agreed on by several farmers’ organizations from the ASEAN region. This trade agenda includes recommendations that will help make small farmers more competitive. It also suggests ways of ensuring that farmers and the agricultural sector are protected from the harmful effects of opening up markets to international trade.
The farmers proposed policies and programs that will make sure that poor families have food on their tables and have reliable sources of income. They also suggested ways of achieving rural development and helping solve poverty in their countries.
This paper also describes the situation of farmers and the agricultural sector in the region, focusing on five ASEAN countries — Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam.
The issue paper has been translated into the languages of AFA members in Indonesia, Cambodia, Thailand, and Vietnam.
Dear members and partners,
You can now download the Chinese version of our brochure. The translation was made by our intern from Beijing, China.
Click here to download: afa-brochure-2009-06-18-with-chinese-translation
By Tsai Shu Hui, AFA
PAKISAMA, together with AFA, organized national consultation – dialogue on ASEAN economic and trade issues that will tackle and analyze the rice crisis in the perspective of the ASEAN region. Multi-sectoral representatives were present in the forum. This included people from the NGO community, farmer groups, and so on. The forum was held on April 22-23, 2008 at the College of Social Work and Community Development, UP Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines.
The National Consultation-Diealogue on ASEAN Economic and Trade Issues was a meaty two-day affair, tackling the implications and impacts of the ASEAN Charter, Climate Change, Biofuels, and the current Rice Crisis among the farmers and fisherfolk members of PAKISAMA. With this information, the organization was able to formulate an initial plan of action on how to tackle these issues in the light of everything else that is happening in the country.
Farmers in ASEAN member-countries such as Cambodia, Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam, and Thailand, can now understand more about ASEAN issues related to farmers in the region through an issue paper that has been translated into local languages.
The issue paper entitled “Understanding the ASEAN Charter and the ASEAN Economic Community Blueprint”, published by AFA and AsiaDHRRA, is now available in Khmer, Bahasa, Tagalog, Viertnamese, and Thai versions.
AFA members from ASEAN countries (FNN in Cambodia, API in Indonesia, PAKISAMA in the Philippines, VNFU in Vietnam, and SORKORPOR in Thailand) did the translation of the issue paper for distribution to farmers in their respective countries.
Through the local versions of the issue paper, it is expected that farmers belonging to AFA member organizations will understand more about ASEAN-related issues affecting them and appreciate the efforts of their national farmers’ organizations on regional advocacy through AFA.
As part of its advocacy effort in the Asian region, AFA conducts dialogues and consultations with ASEAN to understand more the issues concerning farmers and agriculture and put forward the farmers’ analysis and position on these issues, in the hope of affecting the regional inter-government body’s policies and activities.
The 2007 AFA Annual Report is now available for download at the AFA website.
The report contains AFA’s activities, results, major challenges and recommendations, members’ activities, and financial report for the year that passed.
The issue of Special Products and Special Safeguard Mechanism (SP/SSM) is a key issue in the current Doha Round of negotiations. The SP/SSM seems to be one of few issues that developing countries are quite strong on, and that the US is strongly opposed to, meaning that if the developing countries (G33) stay strong in defense of SP/SSM, it could keep the Round deadlocked. If the Round goes through, then SP and SSM are measures to protect farmers from further damage from WTO rules.
This issue paper presents basic information on SP/SSM, reviews the G33 position, CSO position, and proposes advocacy points for farmers.
Written for AFA by Lany Rebagay of AsiaDHRRA.
Available download here:
This monograph presents the highlights of the farmers’ exchange visits (FEVs) in Indonesia and Japan, conducted by AFA, in cooperation with AsiaDHRRA. It also contains the highlights of the field visits held during regional consultations in Indonesia, Vietnam, and the Philippines. All of these FEVs and field visits occurred during the years 2006-2007.
The conduct of these farmers’ exchange and field visits is in line with AFA’s strategic plan for 2006-2010.
The publication of this monograph was made possible with the support of Agriterra.
AFA and AsiaDHRRA Issue Paper. Vol. 3, No. 1. Quezon City, Philippines, February 2008.
The ASEAN Charter and the ASEAN Economic Community Blueprint are two important documents that the 40-year old ASEAN recently signed in order to advance it vision of a “sharing and caring community”. Because majority of the people of Southeast Asia are small-scale farmers who depend on agriculture for their existence, it is important to ask how the charter, the blueprint, as well as the various free trade agreements will impact on them.
This issue paper presents basic information on the ASEAN Charter and the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) Blueprint, including updates on ASEAN Free Trade Agreements (FTAs), as well as AFA’s analysis and position on these topics. It was written by Focus on the Global South Program Coordinator Joy Chavez, who has been one of AFA’s resource persons in its regional consultations on ASEAN-related matters.
The sixth Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization is scheduled in December 2005, in Hongkong. Agriculture, through the Agreement on Agriculture (AoA) undertaking, is still top of the agenda. With Asian farmers bearing the brunt of lopsided global agricultural trade policies, this sector should be well-informed about developments on this issue and should be involved in the discussions at both the national and international levels. The continuing alliance of developing nations forged during the WTO Ministerial Meeting in Cancun, Mexico, such as the G20 and G33, have to be encouraged, and this encouragement can come from civil society groups who have positive engagement with their own governmental negotiators.
The Asian Partnership for the Development of Human Resources in Rural Areas (AsiaDHRRA) and the Asian Farmersâ€™ Association for Sustainable Rural Development (AFA), jointly organized this dialogue as part of their efforts to increase the awareness of their leaders about the developments in the current WTO round of talks as well as to engage like-minded trade negotiators and civil society leaders at the regional level on how best to approach trade talks such that small farmers in their countries can be better protected and be able to reap more benefits from global trade.
Participants to this dialogue, entitled, â€œCivil Society-Government Dialogue: Possibilities of Working Togetherâ€ came from participants to two activities dovetailed with each other. The first was â€œSecond Asian Leadersâ€™ Dialogue (ALD)â€, attended by leaders of various non-government organizations in Asia. The second activity was â€œThailand Farmersâ€™ Exchange Visit (FEV):Farmersâ€™ Sustainable Initiatives and Advocacy in Response to Globalization Challenges,â€ attended by farmer leaders and their translators. This dialogue was the first part of these two activities. The ALD activity ran until March 5 and the FEV until March 8. The dialogue was a joint activity of both AsiaDHRRA and AFA.
We were encouraged by the results of this dialogue. Building on this, we are conducting follow-up dialogues both at the country and regional levels, from September to November 2005. AFA and AsiaDHRRA members are jointly cooperating in a WTO 2005 campaign which seeks to increase awareness of more farmer members on WTO issues and their capabilities to engage their governments on international issues that affect their lives.