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AFA Initiatives with Farmers in Forested Land Scapes Struggles. Actions. Lessons Learned. 2017 Edition

AFA Initiatives with Farmers in Forested Land Scapes
Struggles. Actions. Lessons Learned.
2017 Edition

This is a compilation of case studies written by AFA members who implemented FFF projects in 2015-2016. The cases reflect the struggles, the actions and the lessons learned by AFA members in organizing and building the capacities of their members in forested landscapes, at village, commune or district/town levels, in pursuit of the five priority agenda of AFA: promote secure tenurial rights over land and forest resources, produce diverse and nutritious food through sustainable agri-forestry, build and strengthen family farmers cooperatives and their enterprises, empower women members and attact youth to agriculture.

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AFA joins RECOERDO learning visit to Europe

afa joins recuerdo european learning visit

AFA members and staff are in Europe together with the chairperson and vice-chairperson of the ASEAN Sectoral Working Group on Agricultural Cooperatives (ASWGAC) for a learning visit to France and Begium to get the lessons from different agricultural cooperative models. The learning visit is co-organized by AFA partners CSA and AsiaDHRRA. Through the ASEAN Foundation, AFOSP-MTCP2 supports the participation of ASWGAC leaders while AFA participation is supported by AsiaDHRRA’s RECOERDO program, of which AFA and CSA are associated partners. (Report and photo by Lany Rebagay)

FOREST AND FARM PRODUCER ORGANIZATIONS RAISE ISSUES AND FORGE PARTNERSHIP AT A FORESTRY KNOWLEDGE EXCHANGE IN NEPAL

Kathmandu, Nepal — Forty six representatives of farm and forest producer organizations and community forest user groups in Nepal gathered last March 28 in Kathmandu to share knowledge and experiences on sustainable forestry and forest management, identify common policy advocacy issues they can bring to government and establish partnership for taking action together.

The “Knowledge Exchange on Sustainable Forestry and Forest Management” was organized by the Asian Farmers’ Association for Sustainable Rural Development (AFA), National Land Rights Forum (NLRF), Central Tea Cooperative Federation (CTCF) Nepal, Federation of Community Forestry Users, Nepal (FECOFUN) and All Nepal Peasants’ Federation (ANPFa) with support from FAO’s Forest & Farm Facility (FFF).

National Farmers Group’s Federation Chairperson Uddhab Adhikari said during the forum that while community forest practices in Nepal have contributed to an increase in its forest cover to 44% in recent decades, the government still has not programmatically understood the inextricable relation of communities with forests and has not given sufficient community access to land, forest and water resources as a basic human right that can help improve the lives of poor, landless and small women and men farmers.

He added that “the poor and landless are often seen as destroyers of forests and are cruelly evicted, while the rich and powerful capture public places and forests” and emphasized the need for policy makers, farm producers and community forest user groups to come together to address these conflicts and to promote agro-farming to improve livelihoods of community people who directly depend on forests.

Association of Family Forest Organization of Nepal Chairperson Jogaraj Giri said that community forests policies that were intended to bring social and economic development of women, the poor and the marginalized have brought about positive outcomes in terms of sustainable forest management, but he pointed out that government is promoting corporate farming, wild life conservation and bio-diversity, while forest and farm producer organizations are focused on conservation through full community participation, access of marginalized communities to natural resources for their livelihood, and sustainable forest management through a bottoms-up approach.

He pointed out that “with the changing context in Nepal characterized by a shift of power from central to local, there is tremendous opportunity to establish community rights to natural resources like forest, land and water” but there must be strategy to avoid reducing community rights to sustainable forest management and its delegation to provincial and not the local level.

FECOFUN General Secretary Bharati Pathak said that Nepal’s community forestry practices are the most successful in the world and there are many useful policies for promoting livelihoods of poor and marginalized such as the provision on 50% participation of women in community forest user groups and the utilization of 35% of their annual income for poor users’ livelihood improvement, but the challenge is in the implementation as the government has no real monitoring mechanism to measure their effectiveness, so they often only exist on paper.

She emphasized the need to “set up a strategy to implement these policies and make government accountable by empowering community people as they are the ones who preserve, need and love the forest, so there can be no one more sincerely responsible for protecting their natural resources” and said that FECOFUN is now focused on community property rights and finding the link between forests and farms by analysing national and international experiences, treaty and agreements in the context of Nepal.

She added that community forest user groups do not want to evict real landless people, but there is another challenge of the forests being captured by others, and that the conflict has to be solved by government with favourable policy formulation and institutions and FECOFUN is ready to collaborate in this way.

Right to Food Network Dr. Keshab Khadka of ANPFa said that the increase in Nepal’s forest cover from 19% to 44% is laudable but there remains the problem of eviction by marginalized people whose livelihood prospects have not been incorporated in resource utilization that contributes to sustainable forest management.

He pointed out that “social organizations have not united in a common agenda and have separately advocated for water, land and forests with limited results” and urged like-minded organizations to cooperate on initiatives to establish community right on sustainable natural resource management including knowledge sharing, capacity enhancement and joint advocacy on common issues.

National Land Rights Forum former Chairperson Som Prasad Bhandari said that proper alternatives are needed to stop forceful eviction from forest areas, such as supporting the Managed Settlement Commission to identify the real needy people living in the forest while the community forest user groups can give provide user cards to the landless who are deprived of access to forest products.

He emphasized that “minimum 35% annual income of community forest user groups must be utilized for landless, dalits and small farmers who are categorized in the lowest rank as provided by the government policy” and also called for collaboration among like-minded organizations to come up with a joint policy influence strategy to intervene with policy makers on favourable policies for the communities they are working for.

Participants identified several challenges such as lack of clear policy on agroforestry, the common understanding of community forests as being for conservation only and not for utilization, leadership of most community forest user groups by socio-economically strong persons such as male upper-caste political leaders.

They also identified opportunities such as the draft of an agroforestry guideline, the existence of a Managed Settlement Commission, and the signing on of the government to the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security.

They also cited many experience that can be built upon such as the agroforestry program being conducted by FECOFUN with support by the Forest and Farm Facility, the agro-forest support program supported by IUCN which focuses on agro-based entrepreneurship, and the linking of community property rights and community land reform by NLRF.

During the workshop that followed the presentations and discussions, participants identified the following issues and concerns that they want to raise to government:
– Full utilization and conservation rights of communities toward natural resources
– Sustainable livelihood issues of landless, women and small farmers, and forest based marginal communities
– Policy for forest-based farm production like herbs, fruits, livestock, and high value crops
– Appropriate compensation of wild life attacks on farm production and human lives
– Favourable policies on natural resources (water, land and forest) for poor, landless, women and small holder farmers.
– Ensuring that benefits of carbon trade go directly to communities

They also agreed to the following partnerships that can be established on sustainable forestry and forest management in Nepal:
– Joint campaign for the 35% budget utilization to address the livelihood issues of poor, landless, marginalized and small holder farmers in community forest user groups
– Integrated advocacy strategy of like-minded organizations on the issues of landless, small holder and women farmers, and marginalized communities related to forest, land, agriculture and water
– Knowledge exchange and capacity building between organizations and with targeted communities
– Common position and advocacy on the policy formulation process of government on common issues
– Initiatives to enhance community resilience to climate change and skills upgrade for communities to benefit from agroforestry

There was also a talk show and a sharing of experiences from the field visit of some forest and farm producer organizations during the forum (to be reported in separate articles).

SOURCE: http://asianfarmers.org/?p=4933

AFA conducts cooperative development forum in Vietnam and Nepal

One of the five point priority agenda of the Asian Farmers Association for Sustainable Rural Development (AFA) is to build and strengthen farmers’ cooperatives and their enterprises that will give farmers a stronger involvement in value chains and increase their market power. Thus, AFA has established a Cooperative Development Program which aims to “build a strong and viable network of farmers’ cooperatives, owned and controlled by small scale family farmers, engaged in sustainable and growing business enterprises that leverage economies of scale.”

A starting point for the roadmap to building and strengthening farmers cooperatives is the conduct of Cooperative Development Forum at national level.

For the month of March, Cooperative Development Forum were conducted in Nepal and Vietnam.

afa agri coop nepal

[“Unlocking the Potentials of Agricultural Cooperatives to Deliver Services to the Small Scale Forest and Farm Producers in Nepal”, March 24, 2017, Kathmandu, Nepal. Photo by AFA.]

In Nepal, the workshop was entitled “Unlocking the Potentials of Agricultural Cooperatives to Deliver Services to the Small Scale Forest and Farm Producers in Nepal”, held last March 24, organized by AFA, with members National Land Rights Forum (NLRF) and Central Tea Cooperative Federation (CTCF), and AFA partner All Nepal Peasant Federations Association (ANPFA) with the support of FAO-Forest and Farm Facility. The workshop was attended by 51 participants from cooperatives, farmer organizations, non-goverment organizations and government ministries of cooperatives and rural development.

[“Knowledge and Experience of Agricultural Cooperatives in Vietnam and Delivery of Services to Accelerate their Growth and Development: Cooperative Development Forum”, March 27-29, 2017, Hanoi Vietnam. Photo by Nonoy Villas]

In Vietnam, the workshop was entitled: “Knowledge and Experience of Agricultural Cooperatives in Vietnam and Delivery of Services to Accelerate their Growth and Development: Cooperative Development Forum”, held last March 27-29, organized by Vietnam Farmers Union (VNFU), with Collectif Strategies Alimentaries (CSA), Asian Partnership for the Development of Human Resources in Rural Asia (AsiaDHRRA) and AFA. The workshop was attended by 64 participants representing leaders of cooperatives at commune, district and provincial levels, as well as national leaders of VNFU and the Vietnam Cooperative Alliance and their development partners and representatives from the Department of Cooperatives.

In both workshops, the policy environment for the agricultural/farmers cooperatives was initially examined, the initiatives of selected farmers’ cooperatives were shared, a strategy framework for cooperative development was presented, and the possible models and approaches of a national cooperative strategy was discussed.

VNFU hosts high level exchange visit on land use with Nepal government and CSO

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Hanoi, Vietnam — Vietnam Farmers Union (VNFU) hosted a high level study visit on Land Use with a six-person delegation from Nepal headed by Mr. Krishna Prasad Devkota, Secretary of the Ministry of Land Reform and Management. The Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Mr. Nguyen Linh Ngoc received the delegation on behalf of the Vietnam government. Mr. Lai Xuan Mon, Member of Central Party Committee, Chairman of Vietnam Farmers’ Union received the delegation as the host organization.

The exchange visit, held March 7-11, 2017, was a joint initiative of the government of Nepal, National Land Rights Forum (NLRF), and Vietnam Farmers’ Union (VNFU), in coordination with Community Self Reliance Centre (CSRC), partner NGO of NLRF, and AFA. Both NLRF and VNFU are members of AFA.

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The Nepalese team interacted with farmers, policy makers and officials of local and provincial level government about the land reform during their visit.

Nepal’s Ministry of Land reform has been formulating the national land policy and also drafting land use act. The learning visit was organized to learn from Vietnam, a country that has been successful in its land reform program especially on land use. After successful land reform, Vietnam became second largest rice exporter in the world. The Nepal government will put into use its leanings from this study visit. It is set to revise its land use policy, to make it more comprehensive, and to include better use of forests and agricultural lands in order to bring sustainable livelihoods to poor people.

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Vietnam’s Deputy Minister Nguyen Linh Ngoc expressed interest to further support the land reform processes of the Nepal Government, through financial and technical means.

Vacancy Announcements from APAARI

Two vacancy announcements from APAARI:

Vacancy Announcement for the position of Executive Secretary – APAARI
The Asia-Pacific Association of Agricultural Research Institutions (APAARI) wishes to recruit the vacant position of Executive Secretary and seeks applications/expression of interest from suitably qualified and experienced candidates who are citizens of the countries of the Asia-Pacific region…

Recruitment of Coordinator, Asia-Pacific Consortium on Agricultural Biotechnology (APCoAB)
The Asia-Pacific Association of Agricultural Research Institutions (APAARI) wishes to recruit the vacant position of APCoAB Coordinator to implement the agricultural biotechnology programme of APAARI in collaboration with its member organizations…

(AFA is a regular member of APAARI and sits in the Executive Committee)

Forest and farm producer organizations commit to promote rights and livelihoods of their members, call for support from governments and partner organizations

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Knowledge Exchange Forum on Promoting Rights and Livelihoods through Forest and Farm Producer Organizations Bangkok, Thailand, 7-8-9 December 2016. The information exchange event was organised by the International Family Forestry Alliance (IFFA), the Asian Farmers Association for sustainable rural development (AFA), and was hosted by RECOFTC – The Center for People and Forests. The event took place with support of the Forest & Farm Facility (FFF). Hosted at FAO, the FFF is a global partnership between FAO, IIED, IUCN, and AgriCord that aims to promote sustainable forest and farm management by supporting local, national, regional and international forest and farm producer organisations for improved livelihoods and decision-making over forest and farm landscapes. It was attended by more than 60 participants from 10 countries. Building on the experience of the previous conferences/workshops, this Asia conference was meant to facilitate networking between existing associations and provide them a platform to build their capacity by sharing experiences. Examples from different producer organizations both in a background paper and from presentations at the conference and the field visit were meant to inspire, give visibility to and energize participants and their organizations. It was also be an opportunity to show that local initiatives and organizations are not alone as they could belong to a bigger popular movement.

Strategy From the Knowledge Exchange Forum on Promoting Rights and Livelihoods through Forest and Farm Producer Organisations

Bangkok, Thailand , 7-8-9 December 2016

We the participants of the Forest and Farm Producer Organisation’s Exchange forum at our first Asian meeting 7-9th of December 2016 in Bangkok, Thailand,

RECOGNIZING the key role of forest and farm producers’ organizations and the legal and institutional recognition we need to plant, care, protect and market our family forest and farm products as significantly contributing to the broader sustainable development agenda and directly to most of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

RECOGNIZING the serious Climate Change threat to our lives as well as the great and large scale climate change mitigation and adaptation function our forest and farm producer groups can provide by the interlinkage between trees and food production, recovering the forest/agricultural landscape, promoting eco-system services and improving the livelihoods and sustainable land management through Locally Controlled Forestry and Farming.

RECOGNIZING that secure land tenure (including forest land), freedom of association and legal and institutional recognition of farm/family forest producer organizations, supportive government policies and extension services, and access to markets and finances as indispensable pillars for an enabling environment for the success of forest and farm producer organizations.

CONCERNED that there should be a leveling of the playing field by empowering smallholder organisations so that they can claim their rights and access to markets and at the same time fill the gap between well intentioned political reforms and reality on the ground.

ENCOURAGING the establishment of partnerships between farm and forest producer organizations and government field services and international donors to leverage budgets and staff capacity as a model to be encouraged.

STRESSING the benefit of increased inclusiveness in producer organisations with women, youth, indigenous and other underrepresented groups in our organisations

We commit to the following actions to overcome challenges presented at the Knowledge exchange with our association’s members

– Expand our membership and strengthen our capacities including in the area of data management relating to forests and trees, and thereby achieve respect and legitimacy for our associations

– Ensure the full inclusion of women, youth and indigenous peoples in the forest and farm sector

– Provide a leadership (men and women) with high character values and democratic, transparent and good governance management

– Promote trees as an asset with a broad spectra of forest products including non-timber products and agro forestry practices where appropriate, for increase the capacity to add value to products and services

– Increase collaboration with informal and formal, existing or new networks in the region and global levels

We call our Governments to:

– Recognize the importance of and provide financing for, tree growing and utilisation for sustainable forest and farm management, by smallholders and their producer organisations to enhance rural livelihood and enterprise as well as national economy

– Reduce legal barriers for commercial use by forest and trees by smallholders

– Recognize the legal rights and traditional knowledge of smallholders and strengthen their participation through their producer organisation’s representatives in land, forest and agriculture policy and decision making processes

– Do everything possible to improve land access and to strengthen land tenure legislation that incentivises tree growing and sustainable forest and farm management

– Promote and ensure wide spread education of trees as an asset both in the growing and use of wood from sustainable forests as a prime climate action. See the initiative of Tree Bank in Thailand as a very promising effort to contribute to a restoration of forest cover for the benefit of people as a new source of income and the environment

– Recognize the services provided by the ecological restoration by smallholders and indigenous peoples that requires compensation in national and international processes

– Fairly implement the laws governing natural forest and other protected areas with due consideration of local people

We call our regional and global partner organisations to:

– Strengthen national, regional and international cooperation between forest and farm producer organisations

– Meet again in this Asian regional context in two/three years to make a bench mark of achievements and their relation to SDGs

Click here to download the paper in PDF 

Click here for Tweets from the conference

Related stories:

Value we see in trees: innovation and the exchange of ideas

In the king’s wake

 

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

Click here for Facebook posts about #ACBF2016

Click here for Tweets about #ACBF2016

 

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.

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 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.

AFA holds 7th general assembly

7th afa ga event backdrop v5 b small size

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.)