Category Archives: AFA Papers

Paper: Analysis of Land Tools in the Philippines using Gender Evaluation Criteria

This paper was prepared for presentation at the “2015 World Bank Conference on Land and Poverty” in Washington DC last March 23-27, 2015 by Violeta P. Corral of the National Confederation of Small Farmers and Fishers Organizations (PAKISAMA), Philippines.

The Gender Evaluation Criteria (GEC) project was jointly implemented by PAKISAMA and Asian Farmers Association (AFA), support by the International Land Coalition (ILC).

Under the project, land tools were assessed for their gender-responsiveness using the Gender Evaluation Criteria (GEC) framework developed by the Global Land Tool Network of the UN-HABITAT.

The land tools selected were:

  • Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law (CARL of 1988);
  • Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program Extension with Reforms (CARPER of 2009);
  • Magna Carta of Women (MCW of 2009);
  • and Guidelines Governing Gender Equality in the Implementation of Agrarian Reform Laws and Mainstreaming GAD in the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAO 01, Series of 2011).

Continue reading Paper: Analysis of Land Tools in the Philippines using Gender Evaluation Criteria

Bangladesh farmer leader talks about effect of climate change in his community

(Last Sept 6, an forum entitled “the Civil Society Roadmap to Address the Food Security, Agriculture and Climate Crises”, was held , as a side event during the 2nd Global Conference on Agriculture, Food Security and Climate Change, in Hanoi, Vietnam. The event was organized by AFA, Third World Network, Center for Sustainable Rural Development Vietnam, Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, and ROPPA. Mr. Alaudin Sikder, secretary of Kendrio Krishok Moitree, a national farmer organization in Bangladesh, was one of the speakers. Below is his intervention.)

I come from the southern part of the country . In my community there is much salinization. Now only 10% of the land can be farmed now.

The intensity and severity of winter has been more severe and is prolonged. And the intensity of summer is also high. That is why there is more pest infestation. And with that the cost of pesticide has gone higher. The farmers cannot afford and are not interested in farming anymore. With this our farm production is affected. We cannot rear our cattles now. Even the ducks and poultry are being affected by contagious diseases.

There are two severe cyclones in 2007 and 2008 , and now the riverbanks are deroded. The waters have been salinized, the banks cannot be repaired. The fishes in the fresh water are affected by the salinized water. They are disturbed.

Another problem is the frequency of cyclones. Now we have more cyclones. But still another problem is rain harvest. We used to harvest rain in canals. Now the canals are silted. So the rain we can harvest now is less than what we need for the crops.

Still another problem is that the new generation is not interested in farming. Those who are below 30 do not want to go into farming. So in the future, there may be land but no farmers.

In the face of this, our organization, KKM is doing some things . We reinforce enbankment of mud to prevent saline water from coming in. We are also rediscovering rice varieties which are suitable for our soils, and we built a center for seed processing for this. In the southern part, the farmers are keeping saline tolerant varieties and flood-tolerant varieties in their seed banks.We are also organizing 30 farmers in 30 villages for organic farming. They will be trained to raise ducks, fish and vegetables using organic approaches. We are trying to re-discover this system.

AFA, ADRA, and NAMAC conduct training workshop on constructive engagement and policy advocacy in Mongolia

AFA in cooperation with ADRA-Mongolia and the National Association of Mongolian Agriculture Cooperative (NAMAC) conducted a training workshop on Constructive Engagement and Policy Advocacy in UlaanBaatar, Mongolia on August 28-30, 2012. It was participated by agricultural cooperatives, herders group and NGOs. The training was intended to build the capacity of civil society participant particularly the small-scale farmers, herders towards improving engagement with government to widen and deepen participation in the GAFSP and other development project in Mongolia.

Click on the links to download the training materials:

Constructive Engagement & Policy Advocacy_final.docx
Session 1 Overview of training.pptx
Session 2 Definition of Constructive Engagement-revised.pptx
Session 4 Spaces for Engagement.ppt

AFA participates in global conference on women in agriculture

Today, there is a growing realization and commitment of the global community to achieve more sustainable and broad-based agricultural growth by addressing gender-related issues in agriculture through national, regional and global initiatives and partnerships.

The Road Map of the Global Conference on Agricultural Research and Development (GCARD) too has called for a radical reorientation of the agricultural research agenda to overcome the existing gaps and to face the emerging challenges of sustainable development and livelihood of resource-poor smallholder farmers, especially the women farmers. Urgent efforts are, therefore, needed to overcome the gender gap by empowering women in agriculture.

In view of this, the first Global Conference on Women in Agriculture (GCWA) was held last March 13-15, within the premises of the National Agricultural Science Complex (NASC) in New Delhi, India. The conference was organized by the Asia-Pacific Association of Agricultural Research Institutions (APAAARI) and Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), with the support of various regional and international institutions such as ADB, GFAR, WB, CGIAR, AusAid, Canada Fund, UKAid, among others.

During this conference, four plenary sessions on (1) Reforms in Empowering Women in Agriculture, (2) Institutional Changes for Capacity Building and Partnerships, (3) Strengthening Capacity Building and Partnerships and, and (4) Towards More Effective Joint Action were held. Six parallel sessions were likewise held: (1)Assessing Women Empowerment in Agriculture, (2) Agricultural Innovations for Reducing Drudgery, (3) Linking women to markets, (4) Role of women in household and food security, (5) access to assets, resources and knowledge, and (6) climate change related risks and uncertainties.

AFA Secretary General Esther Penunia was a panelist in the first parallel session together with six other speakers. Her presentation higlighted the initiatives of many AFA members in empowering their women farmer members. (Click here for the paper and click here for the powerpoint)

The synthesis report, made by the GCWA team and GCWA secretariat , and presented by  Ms. Uma Lele, said that evidence shows investment in women has huge benefits in terms of social, economic, productivity and nutritional/food security and other outcomes. Some evidence has pointed out that production and food availability does not necessarily lead to nutritional outcomes, and that increased education does not necessarily lead to increased voice in decision making, even at household levels. The Report highlighted though that we need more and contextual evidence.

Also, the Report identified five emerging priorities to drive change towards women’s empowerment:
-make women’s issues more visible
-generate evidence and knowledge to address women’s issues in agriculture
-foster collective action and leadership of women and men
-promote women’s ownership and control
-secure women’s rights more broadly

Another output of this conference was the formal launching of the Gender in Agriculture Partnership (GAP). It was welcomed as a global initiative embracing all actors involved in gender and agriculture. Between now and the GCARD 2 (Global Conference on Agriculture and Rural Development, to be held in Paraguay this September 2012), the GAP and its priorities will be developed in a participatory process with individuals, institutions and investors. The next GCWA will be held in 2015, to be hosted by FARA (the regional agriculture research fora in Africa).

Click here for the synthesis report presentation.

For more information, visit www.gcwa.in

(Photo credit: www.gcwa.in)

Women Farmers and Food Security

On the occasion of the fifty-sixth session of the Commission on the Status of Women taking place at the United Nations Headquarters in New York from Monday, 27 February to Friday, 9 March 2012, AFA is re-posting this article that first appeared in the special issue of World Rural Forum’s New Earth in celebration of World Rural Women’s Day on October 15, 2010.

Our world is now reeling from four interrelated crises – food, fuel/energy, financial and climate change. The hardest hit by these crises are the small scale women and men farmers, fishers, pastoralists and indigenous peoples, as they comprise the majority of the world’s most poor and vulnerable. These global problems brought opportunities to re-examine agriculture. Now, after three decades of neglect, agriculture is back in the international agenda. Its role in poverty reduction and sustainable development is again being harped. But it is now agriculture with a much different system and focus , or “away from business as usual” . Respected rural development think tanks and intergovernmental organizations have realized that it is sustainable, integrated, diversified agriculture done by small scale farmers, with a particular focus on women, that is a key measure for longer lasting rural development.

Continue reading Women Farmers and Food Security

Synthesis of Deliberations of the Fourth Global Meeting of the Farmers’ Forum

The following was read by Ms. Rachel Kalaba, a representativeof young farmers in Zambia, during IFAD Governing Council meeting on February 22, 2012.

Synthesis of Deliberations of the Fourth Global Meeting of the Farmers’ Forum
in Conjunction with the 35th Session of IFAD’s Governing Council
Rome, 20-21 February 2012

1. We the participants in the the 4th global meeting of the Farmers’ Forum, representing millions of small- and medium- scale family farmers, pastoralists and artisanal fishers (including rural youth), reiterate our appreciation of the Farmers’ Forum process and its contribution to bringing the voice of smallholder farmers into the country strategies and programs of IFAD. There are encouraging achievements in the coverage and diversity of our partnerships in country programmes. There is considerable potential to build upon and improve what has been achieved. Yet a lot more needs to be done. This is of utmost urgency, given the challenges that we face.

2. Demands on agriculture are ever increasing. Natural resources – land, seeds, water, fisheries,pastures – are being depleted and contaminated, while competition for these resources is becoming ever more fierce. A serious threat to the future of agriculture is that young people face great hardship in building a dignified life in the rural areas. More often than not, they are given no viable alternative, but to abandon their villages and migrate to cities or abroad.

3. 500 million smallholder and family farms produce four fifths of the food consumed in the developing world. Sustainable smallholder and family agriculture is, therefore, the foundation of food security, poverty reduction and sustainable management of natural resources.

Continue reading Synthesis of Deliberations of the Fourth Global Meeting of the Farmers’ Forum

AFA’s Opening Statement at the FAFO 2012

Opening Statement
Farmers’ Forum 2012
Asian Farmers’ Association (AFA)
February 20, 2012

Good morning to everyone!

In behalf of the Asian Farmers Association, we greet you all a belated happy lunar new year of the Water Dragon!

Since we last met in 2010, we have made some victories. First, the UN has declared 2014 as the International Year of Family Farming – we have endorsed this declaration in our synthesis of deliberations in FaFo 2010. Second, in the Asia region, the medium term cooperation program aimed to build the capacities of farmers’ organizations was started, after three years of negotiations, and now is in its third year of implementation. The Global Agriculture for Food Security Program or GAFSP also started implementation in 2010, and involved three CSO members in its global steering committee, including one from Asia. The GAFSP has approved some funds in several countries, including five in Asia. And the farmers organizations in these countries have started to engage their governments in the design of the final proposal, for implementation hopefully this year 2012. Lastly, the Civil Society Mechanism for CFS was organized in 2010, promoting the participation of farmers’ organization in CFS processes not only as observers but as participants.

These are for us, clear manifestations of the growing commitment of international agencies, especially IFAD to strengthen partnership with FOs in the region, and we would like to thank IFAD for this.

Continue reading AFA’s Opening Statement at the FAFO 2012

Available for Download: Participatory Research on Gender Dimensions of Food Security amidst Climate Change

(This paper is the output of the participatory research done by AFA through its commissioned researcher Ms. Riza Bernabe and includes secondary as well as primary data gathered from village, district and national consultations in Cambodia, Timor Leste, Indonesia and Laos that were held in 2009 and 2010.)

Addressing the problem of hunger in a world where food production systems, particularly in developing countries, are being eroded and undermined by climate change is one of the most important challenges of our time. Studies by the Food and Agriculture organization (FAO), Oxfam and the Asian Development Bank, among others, underscore the significance of climate change impacts on agriculture and food production (FAO 2007, Oxfam 2009, ADB 2009).

Continue reading Available for Download: Participatory Research on Gender Dimensions of Food Security amidst Climate Change

The Role of Farmers’ Organizations in Empowering and Promoting the Leadership of Rural Women

(Paper presented by Esther A. Penunia, Secretary General, Asian Farmers’ Association for Sustainable Rural Development (AFA), to the UN expert group meeting on “Enabling rural women’s economic empowerment: institutions, opportunities and participation?” organized by UN Women in cooperation with FAO, IFAD and WFP on Sep 20-23, 2011 in Accra, Ghana.)

This paper would like to discuss how FOs can empower small scale women farmers, the issues and challenges FOs face in their work to empower their women members, as well as some priority issues for intervention. In so doing, the paper will cite some examples from the following (a) from the experiences and observations of this writer as she works for and with FOs in Asia who have both women and men, and women-only as members; (b) the outputs of the “Special Session on Promoting Womens’ Leadership and Rural Producers’ Organizations” organized by IFAD last February 12-13 in Rome, Italy ; and (3) the current activities being undertaken through the Rural Women Leadership Project, being implemented by Women Organizing for Change in Agriculture and NRM (WOCAN), with support from IFAD.

Continue reading The Role of Farmers’ Organizations in Empowering and Promoting the Leadership of Rural Women

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

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

AFA paper for the conference on “Leveraging agriculture for nutrition and health”

Leveraging Agriculture for Nutrition and Health
February 10-12, 2011
Taj Palace, New Delhi, India

Speaker Summary Note*

Session: Re-thinking How Each Should Do Business: Regional and Actor Perspectives – East Asia
Speaker: Esther Penunia, Secretary General, Asian Farmers’ Association for Sustainable Development (AFA)

1. Introduction. First of all, thanks to IFPRI for giving us the opportunity to share our perspectives in this high level conference. I work as secretary general of the Asian Farmers’ Association or AFA. We are an alliance of national farmers’ organizations, currently with 10 members, with 10 million small scale women and men farmers, fishers and indigenous peoples as members, in eight East Asian countries – Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Taiwan, Japan and South Korea. Allow me to share these points:
Continue reading AFA paper for the conference on “Leveraging agriculture for nutrition and health”

Women Farmers and Food Security

In celebration of World Rural Women’s Day on October 15, AFA contribute the following article to the special issue of World Rural Forum’s New Earth.

Our world is now reeling from four interrelated crises – food, fuel/energy, financial and climate change. The hardest hit by these crises are the small scale women and men farmers, fishers, pastoralists and indigenous peoples, as they comprise the majority of the world’s most poor and vulnerable. These global problems brought opportunities to re-examine agriculture. Now, after three decades of neglect, agriculture is back in the international agenda. Its role in poverty reduction and sustainable development is again being harped. But it is now agriculture with a much different system and focus , or “away from business as usual” . Respected rural development think tanks and intergovernmental organizations have realized that it is sustainable, integrated, diversified agriculture done by small scale farmers, with a particular focus on women, that is a key measure for longer lasting rural development.

The Many Roles Women Farmers Play

Why should there be a special focus on women in agriculture ? First of all, women comprise around 50% of the farming population in developing countries, since farming is usually a family farm activity, consisting of the husband, the wife and the children. Small scale family farms produce as much as 70% of the foods consumed locally.

Secondly, women do farming too. Generally, when reference is made to ‘farmers’ we say ‘he’. But farming is done not only by men, it is also done by women. In fact, in many developing countries, as much as 50-90% of the work in the farms is done by women. Indeed, in rice farming for example, only plowing is not usually done by women.

Thirdly, women ensure there is food to eat on the table. Before they sleep, they think of what the family will eat the following day, where they will get the money to buy the food or what plant will they harvest . It is their burden, and their task, to perform “some magic” whenever their crops fails, whenever the money is not enough. It is also their burden to fetch water , sometimes from far distances, for cleaning and drinking purposes.
Continue reading Women Farmers and Food Security

AFA conducts participatory gender study on understanding the gender dimensions of food security and climate change

The important role of women in ensuring food security and in coping with climate change cannot be denied. Thus, it is extremely important that the gender dimension not be left out in any analysis, discussion, and programs that seek to achieve food security and address climate change.

Last year, through its researcher, Ms. Riza Bernabe, AFA conducted a participatory gender study supported by IFAD in 5 countries – Philippines, Indonesia, Timor Leste, Cambodia, Thailand — in order to seek out this perspective. The research was informed by village, district and national consultations, as well as secondary data gathering.

The initial findings of the research show that: women indeed play very important roles in ensuring food security; climate change impacts women and men differently, with women bearing the brunt of the negative impacts. The research was also able to seek out the different food security initiatives and climate change coping strategies of small scale farmers, especially women farmers, in Asia.

Continue reading AFA conducts participatory gender study on understanding the gender dimensions of food security and climate change

RESEARCH BRIEF: Participatory Gender Study: Understanding the Gender Dimension in Food Security and Climate Change

The attached research brief was distributed during the climate change negotiations in Copenhagen, where AFA was represented by Ms. Riza Bernabe, who was part of the Philippine delegation and who worked closely with CSOs looking into agriculture in the UNFCC negotiations. Ms. Bernabe’s participation in the event was supported by WOCAN (Women Organizing for Change in Agriculture & NRM).

Click here to download the research brief in PDF

CSO RECOMMENDATIONS TO EFFECTIVELY ADDRESS THE IMPACT OF THE GLOBAL FINANCIAL CRISIS ON THE VULNERABLE SECTORS IN THE ASEAN REGION

(Final Draft, August 6, 2009)

We, representatives from civil society organizations of women and men migrant workers from the formal, informal and labor sectors, small-scale farmers, fishers, indigenous peoples, agricultural workers, consumers, academe and non-government organizations from the ASEAN region, gathered at the “Regional Conference on the Impact of Financial and Economic Crisis on Vulnerable Sectors of the Region: Civil Society Voices and ASEAN” held in Jakarta,Indonesia on July 28-29, 2009 wish to register the following recommendations to ASEAN and other intergovernmental bodies:

1. We acknowledge that the global economic and financial crisis is a recurrent event that creates havoc on the livelihoods and welfare of many communities, especially the most vulnerable sectors. The crisis has been addressed through partial reforms, stimulus packages and bail outs. To prevent or mitigate future crises, we need a thorough re-examination of the global financial system and the formulation of the corresponding systemic, institutional reforms. We need to put in place a new global financial architecture that is fair and transparent, that has a development agenda and that is responsive to shocks. Reforms will include sound regulation of capital and financial markets including the need to control excessive flows and high risk leverage and regulate various financial products( e.g. sub-prime loans and credit cards). There, too, should be proper and timely disclosure of information on the advantages/disadvantages of financial products. A charter for the responsible sale of financial products should be developed.

Continue reading CSO RECOMMENDATIONS TO EFFECTIVELY ADDRESS THE IMPACT OF THE GLOBAL FINANCIAL CRISIS ON THE VULNERABLE SECTORS IN THE ASEAN REGION

Jakarta Conference Action Plans

Regional Conference on the Impact of Financial Crisis on Vulnerable Sectors:
Civil Society Voices and ASEAN
July 28-29 2009, Jakarta
(Final Draft)

Action Plans which participants agreed to work on together:

I. Agricultural Sector
1. Priority Policy Agenda
1. Create and strengthen mechanisms for dialogue and consultation between CSOs and government, at the national and regional levels, towards the ASEAN Summit.
2. Address food security issues through the development of mechanisms for fair trade system.
3. Farmers, fishers and CSOs are able to present their positions /views / recommendations to the new cabinet of Indonesia.

Continue reading Jakarta Conference Action Plans