Category Archives: Issue: Farmers’ Rights

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

ka vic in memoriam (banner) small


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

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

Various activities, important decisions mark AFA’s 5th general assembly

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.

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AFA to share farmers experiences in plant genetic resources conference

AFA Secretary General Esther Penunia will make a 10-minute intervention during a multi-stakeholder conference on “Conservation and Sustainable Use of Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Nutrition Security” on March 15 in Bali, Indonesia.

The intervention will focus on “The past, present and future contributions of farmers in conserving, improving and making available nutritious food crops by supporting the efforts of indigenous and local communities, as the basis of Farmers’ Rights.”

The conference will be held in conjunction with the Fourth Regular Session of the Governing Body of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture in Bali, Indonesia on March 11-16, 2011.

In the News: Indonesia First Developing Country to Contribute to Crop Benefit Sharing Fund

BALI, Indonesia – (March 14, 2011) In a surprise statement at the Ministerial meeting in Bali to strengthen the links between biodiversity, food security and climate change, the Minister of Agriculture of Indonesia HE Ir. Suswono announced that Indonesia will be the first developing country to invest a financial contribution in the global seed conservation fund of the International Treaty.

The minister said he hopes that this serves an inspiration to other countries to sustain the Benefit-sharing Fund of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture. This fund was set up by 127 countries in 2008 to fight against the erosion of crop biodiversity by sustaining farmers to conserve and adapt traditional seeds.

The main beneficiaries of the fund are farmers and local communities in developing countries who are working towards maintaining and increasing food crop biodiversity.

Continue reading In the News: Indonesia First Developing Country to Contribute to Crop Benefit Sharing Fund

AFA paper for the conference on “Using Plant Rights Assessment Package in Asia”

Vicente Fabe, Treasurer, Asian Farmers’ Association (AFA)
February 10, 2011

Magandang hapon po sa inyong lahat.

I am Vic Fabe, from Camarines Norte, a rice, coconut, citrus and vegetable farmer. Currently I serve as the Chairperson of Pambansang Kilusan ng mga Samahang Magsasaka or PAKISAMA, a national confederation of small scale women and men farmers, fishers and indigenous peoples, with about 70,000 members. PAKISAMA is a member organization of the Asian Farmers Association or AFA, a regional alliance, currently with 10 member organizations in eight countries- Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Taiwan, Japan, and South Korea, with a membership of around 10 million small scale farmers, fishers and indigenous peoples . Currently, I serve as Treasurer of AFA. And now, we thank you for the opportunity to share with you our perspective on using the Plant Right Assessment Package in the Asian context.

Continue reading AFA paper for the conference on “Using Plant Rights Assessment Package in Asia”

AFA joins consultation on plant rights assessment package

The United Nations Development Program conducted a national consultation on the “Plant Rights Assessment (PRA) Package” last February 9-10 in Makati City, Philippines. AFA was represented by Mr. Vicente Fabe, its Treasurer and PAKISAMA, AFA member in the Philippines, was represented by Mr. Rene Cerilla, its Advocacy Leader.

The PRA package is aimed to assist countries in developing balanced plant rights regimes by making use of human rights principles and specifically the right to food. It wants to follow UNDP’s recommendation “that in establishing a balanced plant variety regime, countries would benefit from an ‘inclusive process’ – one that takes into considerations concerns of key stakeholders.”

Continue reading AFA joins consultation on plant rights assessment package

In the News (Indonesia): Farmers rally to demand revision of Plant Cultivation System law

(AFA supports API and other peasant groups in Indonesia in their struggle to uphold farmers’ rights.)

Translated from Indonesian. (Click here for original story.)

Kediri, East Java, Indonesia, July 24, 2010 – As many as 50 farmers who are members of Farmers’ Solidarity Sovereignty (Solidaritas Kedaulatan Petani or SKP), held a demonstration in front of Prison Class II A of Kediri (Lapas Kelas II A Kediri, Sabtu) in East Java, Indonesia. The peasants feel victimized by the law, which they say only serves the interests of seed companies mainly owned by foreign investors.

They therefore urged the government to revise Law No.12/1992 on the Plant Cultivation System (Sistem Budidaya Tanaman or SBT).

Law No. 12 of 1992 on Plant Cultivation System (SBT Act). They said that the law protects the interests of capitalist investors while criminalizing farmers. They cited the case of Mr. Kuncoro, a farmer from Toyorosemi village, at Ngasem subdistrict, Kediri district, East Java province.

After being accused of producing corn seeds illegally, he was finally sentenced to seven months in jail in a trial held last May 31, 2010. “Mr. Kuncoro is a victim of the SBT Act,” said Naning Yunaidah Suprawati, action coordinator (and also advocacy staff of Aliansi Petani Indonesia or API in East Java.)
Continue reading In the News (Indonesia): Farmers rally to demand revision of Plant Cultivation System law

Dalam Berita (Indonesia): Demo Petani Kediri Desak Revisi UU

(Menegakkan petani hak! – AFA)

Kediri, 24 Juli 2010 – Sebanyak 50 orang petani yang tergabung dalam Solidaritas Kedaulatan Petani (SKP) menggelar unjuk rasa di depan Lapas Kelas II A Kediri, Sabtu (24/7). Para petani itu merasa menjadi korban produk undang-undang yang ditengarai menguntungkan kekuatan para pemilik modal atau investor.

Karena itu mereka mendesak pemerintah merevisi Undang-undang No 12 tahun 1992 tentang Sistem Budidaya Tanaman (SBT). UU itu dinilai berpihak kepada investor dan pemilik modal yang unjung-ujungnya bisa mengkriminalisasi para petani. Itu seperti dialami Kuncoro, Warga Toyorosemi, Kecamatan Ngasem, Kediri.

Karena dituduh memproduksi benih jagung, akhirnya dia divonis tujuh bulan penjara pada sidang 31 Mei 2010. “Pak Kuncoro adalah korban UU SBT,” kata Koordinator Aksi Naning Yunaidah Suprawati, Sabtu (24/7).
Continue reading Dalam Berita (Indonesia): Demo Petani Kediri Desak Revisi UU