Category Archives: AFA Statements

Invest in smallholder farmers

The following is a guest blog by AFA Secretary General Esther Penunia for the World Economic Forum’s, which is holding the  New Vision for Agriculture initiative in Myanmar this week.

The economy of the Philippines grew 7.8% in the first quarter of this year, outperforming China and the rest of Asia. The media announced the news proudly and happily because this is the third quarter in a row that the country’s GDP exceeded 7%.

However, for those of us working in the agriculture sector, an important aspect of this news is that agriculture contributed only 0.4% of the 7.8% growth, compared to 35% contributed by industry and services. Agriculture accounts for almost a third of the labour force, and it is from the agricultural/rural sector that most of our poor emanate. Thus, it doesn’t look like that the country’s growth has been inclusive.

This situation is being experienced in many developing countries in South and East Asia. While many Asian countries are exhibiting growth rates, still more than 60% of the world’s hungriest and poorest are in Asia (687 million), particularly in South Asia, and 70% of them rely on agriculture for a living.

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AFA Presentation for FFP

By Esther Penunia
AFA Secretary General
6 October 2010

Good afternoon to all of you. Am happy to be with you, to share our thoughts for the proposed next phase of the Farmers Fighting Poverty or FFP.

The Asian Farmers Association or AFA is a regional alliance formed in 2002. Currently, we have ten national FOs in eight countries in Asia, representing 10 million small scale women and men farmers, fishers and indigenous peoples. AgriCord, through Agriterra, is a consistent significant partner in our growth and development and in our fight against poverty.

Why are many of us still poor? First, many of us do not own the small lands we till. Thus we cannot decide on what, how, where to market our produce. We cannot plan long term investments on land. Second: we lack access to credit, technology, extension, roads, infrastructure, pre and post harvest facilities. Third, we lack access and control of our markets. It is the buyer who decides on the prices of our produce, we don’t have good roads, we don’t know who gives the higher price, and we don’t know how to add value to our products. Fourth, we are not the decision-makers, we are weak in terms of influencing our government’s policies and programs because we lack the numbers, the confidence to speak, the sharpness of our arguments.
Continue reading AFA Presentation for FFP

AFA supports fair land law processes in Timor-Leste

Dear fellow land rights advocates in Timor Leste,

Our organization, Asian Farmers’ Association or AFA, supports your call for the implementation of the Minimum Requirements to ensure meaningful public participation in developing your country’s Land Law.

AFA, a regional alliance of nine national farmers’ organizations in eight Asian countries, believes that security of land tenure is a basic requirement for peace and sustainable development of small scale men and women farmers and indigenous peoples.

We hope you will have an effective land law that respects the wishes and culture of the people, gives rights to those who will actually farm on the lands, and facilitates small scale farmers and IPs claim to these rights.

In solidarity,

Ma. Estrella Penunia
Secretary General
Asian Farmers’ Association

Continue reading AFA supports fair land law processes in Timor-Leste

Common Action to achieve Global Food Sufficiency

The participants of the Global Food Sufficiency Videoconference*, which took place in Manila (Philippines), Dakar (Senegal), Brasilia (Brazil), Washington (USA) and Brussels (Europe) on 29. April 2009, suggest working closely together towards:

1. Influencing agriculture policies in our regions (Common Agriculture and Rural Development Policy in the EU, US Farm Bill, etc.) so that farm gate prices and farm income will cover the real costs of food production which shall be based on climate friendly and sustainable farming practices

2. Pressing for global food policies which fulfil the human right to wholesome food for all achieve stability of food supply and markets and (through curbing speculation, managing supply, and the promotion of strategic food reserves)

3. Demanding increased investment in agriculture and rural development based on sustainability principles, (promoting multi-functionality and climate-friendly practices including conservation of biodiversity, soil fertility, water management as well as rebalancing plant, meat and renewable energy production and consumption)

Continue reading Common Action to achieve Global Food Sufficiency

AFA supports campaign for International Year of Family Farming

The Asian Farmers’ Association for Sustainable Rural Development (AFA), a regional alliance of nine national farmers’ organizations in Southeast and East Asia, representing ten million small-scale men and women farmers, supports the campaign to declare an International Year of Family Farming.

The World Rural Forum (WRF), an international platform for meeting, analysing and observing rural development, has launched this worldwide campaign to give a decisive boost to the development of family farms.

Continue reading AFA supports campaign for International Year of Family Farming

29th FAORAP Conference: CIVIL SOCIETY JOINT STATEMENT

29th FAORAP Conference
CIVIL SOCIETY JOINT STATEMENT
March 30, 2009
Bangkok, Thailand

(Presented during the Ministerial meeting segment, March 30, 2009 , by Ms. Esther Penunia, AFA Secretary General.)

Distinguished ministers and officers of the ministries of agriculture, forestry, fisheries in the Asia Pacific Region, Director General Jacques Diof, and officers of FAO RAP, good afternoon to all.

We, organizations seating in this row , representatives from farmers’ organisations, indigenous peoples, women, agricultural workers, fisher folks, people’s movements and civil society organizations, from Asia-Pacific countries, would like to thank the Royal Kingdom of Thailand and the Thai people, for their gracious hospitality. We would like to thank the FAO for allowing us to make a statement before you all.

We are faced with three global, interrelated, interconnected crises : food crisis, financial crisis and global warming or climate change. The hardest hit are the poor, especially small scale women and men farmers, agricultural workers, fishers, and indigenous peoples.

We agree that the potentials of agriculture can be unlocked and harnessed , but not the “business as usual” , industrial, chemical –intensive agriculture, that we know of now .

Continue reading 29th FAORAP Conference: CIVIL SOCIETY JOINT STATEMENT

STATEMENT FROM CIVIL SOCIETY PARTICIPANTS 29TH FAO REGIONAL CONFERENCE FOR ASIA AND THE PACIFIC

STATEMENT FROM CIVIL SOCIETY PARTICIPANTS
29TH FAO REGIONAL CONFERENCE FOR ASIA AND THE PACIFIC
BANGKOK, 26-31 MARCH 2009

We, representatives from farmers’ organisations, indigenous peoples, women, agricultural workers, fisher folks, people’s movements and civil society organisations from Asia-Pacific countries, wish to register to the delegates at the 29th FAO Regional Conference for Asia and the Pacific in Bangkok on 26-31 March 2009, the following:

Water Scarcity and Availability
• Water scarcity and poor water quality are directly linked to unsustainable and chemically intensive agriculture, and manufacturing, extractive and energy industries (including hydro-power). They capture disproportionately large volumes of water and are responsible for ground water contamination, chemical leaching and water salinization.
• High-input conventional agriculture is a significant contributor to the climate crisis and the resultant water crisis.
• Access and tenure to land, forests, watersheds and territories for smallhold agricultural producers, workers and indigenous communities have been critically jeopardised due to increasing privatisation and commercialisation, and are precipitating livelihood crises and resource conflicts.

Continue reading STATEMENT FROM CIVIL SOCIETY PARTICIPANTS 29TH FAO REGIONAL CONFERENCE FOR ASIA AND THE PACIFIC

Solidarity Statement for PAKISAMA on the occasion of its 7th National Congress

Dear Friends in PAKISAMA,

We, the Asian Farmers’ Association for Sustainable Rural Development (AFA), would like to express our solidarity with you on the occasion of your 7th National Congress on March 18-20, 2009, with the theme “Unity Amidst Challenges of the Time.”

This is a very important event not only for PAKISAMA, but for all the peasants in the Philippines, who continue to struggle to own land, improve their livelihoods, and uphold their dignity.

More than two decades ago, PAKISAMA was born out of the need for a strong national farmers’ alliance that will push for genuine agrarian and aquatic reform in the country.

Two decades later, the need for a stronger and more united peasant alliance has become even greater.

The nation’s supposed lawmakers seem intent on killing the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program, by refusing to pass a law extending and reforming it, as mandated by the Constitution, and by passing a bogus resolution that removes the provisions on compulsory acquisition of the land, which is the very heart of land reform.

These challenges are heighted by the global financial meltdown, climate change, food crises, and bad governance in the lives especially of millions of landless and struggling women and men farmers, small fishers, and indigenous peoples.

We are one with you in this struggle as comrades from different Asian countries.

For it is only under a united front that we, small men and women farmers of Asia, will succeed in bringing about a better future for ourselves, our children, and our children’s children.

Mabuhay ang PAKISAMA!

Long live PAKISAMA!

In solidarity,

Ms. Sudaporn Sittisathapornkul
Chairperson

Ms Esther Penunia
Secretary General

AFA statement on the killing of Ka Vic Paglinawan

PRESS STATEMENT
November 26, 2008

Bring Ka Vic’s Killers to Justice Immediately !
Stop Political Killings in the Philippines !

We, the Asian Farmers’ Association for Sustainable Rural Development, an
alliance of nine national farmers’ organizations in eight countries in
Asia, are shocked, dumbfounded, and deeply in sorrow and righteous anger
over the shameless and senseless killing of one of our farmer-leaders, Ka
Vicente Paglinawan, Vice President for Mindanao of the Pambansang Kilusan
ng mga Samahang Magsasaka or PAKISAMA, AFA member in the Philippines.

Continue reading AFA statement on the killing of Ka Vic Paglinawan

AFA Statement on the 5th Death Anniversary of Lee Kyung Hae

We will always remember Lee Kyung Hae’s High and Noble Self-Sacrifice
We will continue to Fight For His Dream!

We are confronted now with a new challenge.

Even though WTO-Doha negotiations have failed, bilateral free trade agreements (FTAs) are being pushed aggressively and FTA negotiations are increasing rapidly. We are aware that FTAs is another road to realize free trade or agricultural trade liberalization.

It is clearly true that WTO and FTA kills farmers. The free trade of food products, recommended under the rules of WTO and FTAs, will never bring about sustainable development to the rural areas, where many of the world’s poor are.

Continue reading AFA Statement on the 5th Death Anniversary of Lee Kyung Hae

Solidarity Statement for the Peasants of Kelompok Tani Masyarakat Ingin Makmur (KTMIM) in Indonesia

We, the Asian Farmers’ Association for Sustainable Rural Development (AFA), a regional alliance of 9 farmer federations in 8 Asian countries representing 10 million farmers, join the call to “free the peasants of Kelompok Tani Masyarakat Ingin Makmur (KTMIM) and investigate the violation of human rights in Banjaran Village, Secanggang Sub-District, Langkat District” in Indonesia.

We are appalled by the wanton disregard for human rights exhibited by PT Buana Estate and the Mobile Brigade when they violently attacked the peasants who were peacefully guarding their land last July 25, 2008.

The land belongs to the people of Kampung Banjaran who have lived there for generations since 1931. But in 1985, Plantation PT Buana Estate forced them to move out from the land, which has already been declared out of the right to use for PT Buana Estate through the Decree of Home Affairs Ministry No.9/HGU/DA/82 dated 25 June 1982.

We are angered by their criminal action when they hit with a truck and brutally kicked Ponisih, a 36-year old peasant woman, who is now in a coma in a hospital, fighting for her life.

We are deeply disturbed by the arrest of 46 peasants, including 2 women – Ana, 35 years old, and Ganong, 55 years old – made by the police during the attack, and are gravely concerned about their safety.

Continue reading Solidarity Statement for the Peasants of Kelompok Tani Masyarakat Ingin Makmur (KTMIM) in Indonesia

OPEN LETTER to OFFICIAL WTO NEGOTIATORS

WTO Mini Ministerial Meeting
July 21-25, 2008
Geneva, Switzerland

This week, negotiators from many member countries of WTO again meet in Geneva for a mini-ministerial meeting, in efforts to conclude the much delayed, much controversial Doha Development Round of Negotiations. Agriculture has been a contentious issue since the Round started in 2001.

We, the Asian Farmers’ Association, an alliance of national farmers organizations in Asia representing nine million farmers, were happy that major groupings of developing countries in WTO, such as the LDC group, the ACP group, and the G33, have made a statement that there will be “no deal” without adequate treatment of special products and special safeguard mechanisms. We are happy that India and Brazil, of the G20 group, continuously call for drastic cuts n the heavy subsidies given and high tariff barriers imposed by developed countries, particularly the US and EU.

Continue reading OPEN LETTER to OFFICIAL WTO NEGOTIATORS

Kobe Declaration on Organic Agriculture

Last May 25, Organic Farmers’ groups in Japan, who form part of the National “Change Agriculture!” movement, conducted “The International symposium to think about agriculture and environment”. This was held in Kobe, and participated by about 300 people. Our partner, Ainokai, joined this event, which one of civli society’s preparatory activities for the G8 summit.

The participants issued the statement below. We hope you can consider this appeal as well as you try to influence G8 leaders who are currently meeting in Japan today.


Kobe Declaration on “Organic agriculture is to solve the global environment problems”
Announced at “The International symposium to think about agriculture and environment” May 25th, 2008.
By the National “Change Agriculture!” movement
We propose “The policy of sustainable agriculture, food, and environment issue based on organic agriculture” for the themes of global warming, biodiversity, food crises, low-carbon/sustainable society, discussed at the G8 summit in Toyako, Japan 2008.

The global scale crises like abnormal climate, food and resource price crises, water resource depletion, are worsening today. In order to solve these crises, we focus on the connection of agriculture, food and environment.

The world’s croplands and pastures, which occupies about one third of the earth surface, have supported human society for centuries. They have produced food, provided clothing and housing for people, formed cultures and conserved local environment. That was the human relationship with the Earth.

However, the modern agriculture was built into modern industrial and business structures, which have pushed industrialization and global trade to extreme. Thus, today’s industrial agriculture takes part in destroying the environment. We aim to overcome the modern industrial society depending on the limited resources, and the heavy market economy centered society based on WTO structure, and to transform into sustainable recycling-based, cooperating society.

We believe the sustainable organic agriculture, that is what real agriculture should be, is the starting point to achieve that goal.

We propose here the issues that governments of Japan and G8 countries should work on to improve the global environment.

Continue reading Kobe Declaration on Organic Agriculture

Small Men and Women Farmers Are Victims Too: Help Us Produce Enough Rice for Our Nations

Press Statement
May 28, 2008

Over the past three years, and especially at the start of this year, there has been dramatic increases in the price of rice in many countries in the world, including Asia. Experts have said that these increases in rice and other major food stuffs will continue in the next few years.

Many have said that we, rice farmers, should be happy about the rice price increases, because this means additional income or profit for us.

But we would like to tell that our happiness is in the short term; we are victims too of the rice price increases. Our rice farm lands are small; if ever we sell the rice we produce, the quantity is small. We are rice consumers too, and as we are poor, we do not have the capacity to buy rice if the price is high. The costs for fertilizers, gasoline and other agricultural inputs have also risen sharply; thus reducing our net income from rice farming. The costs of other food stuffs have increased as well, thus limiting our ability to buy food for our families. Women farmers suffer most from this situation, as they are tasked to bring food on the table for their families.

Continue reading Small Men and Women Farmers Are Victims Too: Help Us Produce Enough Rice for Our Nations

AFA’s Statement on Climate Change

to fight climate change:
Asian Farmers Call for Massive Support for Sustainable, Organic Agriculture

Climate change, or Global warming, has emerged as the most serious, yet unifying , global issue, that affects every country and every citizen, both rich and poor, of the world. However, the rise of the earth’s temperature has its most serious effects to agriculture, particularly to us, poor, small scale men and women farmers, fishers and indigenous peoples, even though we have contributed least to the problem. We rely so much on our communion with nature and climate for our livelihoods and way of life. The warming of the earth will change weather patterns , disrupt ecosystems, and with it, unusual droughts, floods, storms, heat, pests, and diseases, all of which can spell insecurity, illness, disaster, hunger and even death and tragedy among us.
Continue reading AFA’s Statement on Climate Change

Solidarity Message for Sumilao Farmers

The following is the solidarity message sent by AFA to the Sumilao farmers, who are mostly members of PAKISAMA. The Sumilao farmers belonging to the Higaonon tribal community in southern Philippines have been marching around 1,700 kilometers for almost 60 days from Bukidnon in Mindanao to Metro Manila to reclaim the 144 hectares of ancestral land that was taken away from them and to call for the passage of the law extending the agrarian reform program that can still give land to around 433,333 landless Filipino farmers.

Continue reading Solidarity Message for Sumilao Farmers

Statement of the organizers of the panel “Roadmap towards a Sustainable Rural Development in ASEAN”

Farmers and Fishers and IPs

Recognize and engage rural people’s networks at local, national and regional levels, in the formulation of policies and programs that affect the lives and livelihoods of small men and women farmers, fishers and IPs.

Promote agriculture and fisheries that effectively lift the rural people, both men and women, from poverty , utilize local wisdom and appropriate , environment-friendly technologies, gets fair prices from fair markets , and preserve the agricultural heritage of rural communities against devastating impacts of corporate-led agriculture and fisheries. Small scale farmers and fishers should have access and control over natural resources such as land, water, seas, seeds

Statement of Support of SorKorPor in Thailand to Sumilao Farmers in the Philippines

Dear Friends in PAKISAMA,

Re: Moral Support to “Lumad” Farmers from Sumilao to March on Foot for 60 Days to Reclaim Land

Farmers’ Federations Association for Development Thailand (Sorkorpor) wants to express our admirableness to “Lumad” Farmers through our friends, PAKISAMA.

We realize that LAND is heart of all farmers. In case of Thailand, our small farmers in all parts of the country have ever struggled to protect their ancient lands from many competitive used of other sectors. Regarding to the circumstance, we can say that Filippino and Thai farmers are in the same fate. We think that the campaign by marching on foot for 60 days to reclaim land of Sumilao farmers is a symbol of farmers and poor people who have just only bodies and mind as tools for struggle.

Continue reading Statement of Support of SorKorPor in Thailand to Sumilao Farmers in the Philippines

Statement on the 7th Asia Pacific Mining Conference and Exhibition

This week, the 7th Asia Pacific Mining Conference and Exhibition is being held in Makati City, Philippines. The conference brings together ASEAN and Asia Pacific Ministers as well as the ASEAN Federation of Mining Associations and the Chamber of Mines, to address issues, concerns and developments in the mining industry in the Asia Pacific region.
Continue reading Statement on the 7th Asia Pacific Mining Conference and Exhibition