Category Archives: Member: KAFF

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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Women share experiences and perspectives on the food crisis

[The following is from the flyer of ISIS about its new publication to which AFA contributed articles as follow: “Pursuing Organic Farming in Cambodia” (by Kong Sokchhoin, FNN); “A Case for Cassava in East Nusa Tenggara” (by Nuruddin); “When Survival of the Self is the Survival of Others” (by Ryoko Tsuboi, AINOUKAI); “Bracing the Burdens of Bulan” (by Mela Gipanao, LAKAMBINI/PAKISAMA); “Accessing and Accounting ASEAN” (by Esther Penunia, AFA).]

In 2008, the world was alarmed by the shortage of food especially staples such as wheat, rice and corn. This crunch was further aggravated by the soaring prices of fuel and now, by the gripping economic and climate crises.

But the food crisis is not the result of the unavailability of food sources. Instead it exposed the flaws of the neoliberal model that has created various forms of scarcity amid abundance in the name of profit — resulting to captive politics, massive poverty, environmental degradation and even cultural homogenisation.

Moreover, the food crisis has left of its mark on women’s lives and bodies, which borne much of the pressure to access the already limited resources for the poor and provide for their families.

Continue reading Women share experiences and perspectives on the food crisis

New volunteer from Korea joins AFA

Mr. Kang Min Su, the former Secretary General of the Korean Alliance of Farmer (KAF) and the Korean Alliance against the KorUS FTA, arrived in the Philippines on June 12 to join AFA as volunteer staff for advocacy work.

Mr. Kang has a wide experience in advocacy work for farmers’ organizations in Korea. He was actively involved in the protest movement in the 5th WTO Inter-Ministerial Conference held in Cancun, Mexico in 2003 and the 6th WTO Inter-Ministerial Conference held in Hong Kong last 2005.

He aims to learn and exchange experiences and information about farmers’ organizations in Asian countries. He is also interested to know how the farmers’ organizations participate in policy making in their countries.

Mr. Kang will also help coordinate the activities of the Korean Advanced Farmers’ Federation (KAFF) with AFA. His volunteer work in the AFA secretariat was recommended by the KAFF Chairperson under AFA’s staff exchange program for its members.

(In the Photo: Mr. Kang Min Su discusses his work program with Secretary General Esther Penunia and Program Officer Jun Virola. Photo taken by Ms. Shui Tsai, Technical Assistant)

In the News: South Korea Seeks Revision of U.S. Beef Agreement


SEOUL, South Korea — South Korea said Thursday that it will send its top trade negotiator to the United States to try to revise an agreement to resume imports of American beef that has triggered weeks of demonstrations against the government of President Lee Myung-bak.

Trade Minister Kim Jong-hoon, who negotiated a free trade pact with the United States last year, is to go to Washington on Friday to ask the United States to modify the terms of the beef deal, signed on April 18, while not officially asking for a renegotiation.

Watch online video: Massive beef protests

Read the full story here

In the News: Protests in South Korea Imperil Government

South Korea’s prime minister and cabinet offered to resign to help President Lee Myung-bak weather the crisis over an agreement to import American beef. Tens of thousands of protesters gathered on the street leading to the Blue House, the presidential residence, and the United States Embassy to demand the renegotiation of the agreement with the United States and the resignation of Mr. Lee.

Photo: Lee Gwang-ho/Reuters

Source: New York Times

KAFF staff visit AFA office

Mr. Kim Gwan Bae of the Korean Advanced Farmers’ Federation (KAFF) and Ms. Park of the Women’s Adanced Farmers’ Federation visited the AFA office today. They met the AFA Secretary General Esther Penunia, Technical Assistant Shui Tsai, and Admin Officer Agnes Ramos. Taking the picture is AFA Operations Officer Jun Virola. Mr. Kim and Ms. Park came to the Philippines for their wedding honeymoon.

They took the opportunity to visit the AFA office as part of the activities to further strengthen the relationship between AFA members and the Secretariat. The partners shared some Filipino food and exchanged some gifts.

Solidarity Message for KAFF’s 10th National Advanced Farmers’ Meeting

Dear Chairman Seo, officers and members of KAFF,Warm greetings to everyone!

We congratulate the officers of KAFF for organizing the tenth National Advanced Farmers’ Meeting. We cheer with the thousands of KAFF members and their families who are gathered here together for days of togetherness, fun and laughter, solidarity and also exchange of learning.

Continue reading Solidarity Message for KAFF’s 10th National Advanced Farmers’ Meeting