(Note: PAKISAMA, AFA member in the Philippines, is a member of the NO2GMO coalition)
PAKISAMA president Ireneo Cerilla received a plaque of recognition as one of nine finalists for the First International Land Coalition (ILC) Award during the ILC Global Land Forum and Assembly of Members in Dakar, Senegal last May 12-16. The recognition was given for PAKISAMA’s entry entitled “Twenty years of non-violent protest to benefit from the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program” which falls under ILC’s commitment to “Strong Small-Scale Farming Systems.” Continue reading PAKISAMA receives recognition as finalist for the First ILC Award
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.
A forum-workshop entitled “Food Security and Climate Change Adaptation of Small Scale Farmers and Fishers in Southeast Asia” was held in Quezon City, Philippines, last Nov 24-25. The workshop was co-organized by Oxfam International’s East Asia office, Southeast Asia Fisheries for Justice (SEAFISH), a regional alliance of NGO and fisher groups, and Asian Farmers’ Association for Sustainable Rural Development (AFA), a regional alliance of national farmers organizations.
AFA participants included Oun Sophal and Meas Somica from Farmer and Nature Net (Cambodia), Lutfiyah Hanim from Aliansi Petani Indonesia, Rene Cerilla from PAKISAMA (Philippines),Vicky Serrato and Esther Penunia from the secretariat.
Small scale farmers and fishers are trying to adapt to climate change as much as they can. In this workshop, participants shared various adaptation strategies. Here are some of what they shared:
AFA participated in an ASEAN food security conference held in Manila, Philippines last July 18-19, 2011.
The conference aimed to enable the private sector to participate in efforts to address food security in the region and focused on food production, post-harvest, and rural-market linkages.
AFA was represented by Mr. Uon Sophal (FNN President) and Mr. Pan Sopheap (FNN Executive Director) from Cambodia; Mr. Vicente Fabe (PAKISAMA National Council Chairperson) and Mr. Raul Socrates Banzuela (PAKISAMA National Coordinator) from the Philippines; Ms. Victoria Serrato (AFA Marketing Ofifcer) and Ms. Ma. Estrella Penunia (AFA Secretary General).
Mr. Sophal delivered a presentation on the the topic “Improving Food Security through Improving Productivity: Perspectives from Producers,” while the rest made interventions during the sessions.
Through the conference, an action agenda was developed for discussion at the first-ever ASEAN Private Agrifood Sector Consultation with the ASEAN Ministers of Agriculture and Forestry (AMAF), which will meet on October 3-8, 2011 in Jakarta, Indonesia.
AFA will participate in an ASEAN food security conference to be held in Manila, Philippines on July 18-19, 2011.
The conference will enable the private sector to participate in efforts to address food security in the region and will focus on food production, post-harvest, and rural-market linkages.
AFA will be represented by Mr. Uon Sophal (FNN President) and Mr. Pan Sopheap (FNN Executive Director) from Cambodia; Mr. Vicente Fabe (PAKISAMA National Council Chairperson) and Mr. Raul Socrates Banzuela (PAKISAMA National Coordinator) from the Philippines; and Ms. Victoria Serrato (AFA Marketing Ofifcer).
Mr. Sophal will make a presentation on the the topic “Improving Food Security through Improving Productivity: Perspectives from Producers,” while the rest will make interventions during the sessions.
Through the conference, an action agenda will be developed for discussion at the first-ever ASEAN Private Agrifood Sector Consultation with the ASEAN Ministers of Agriculture and Forestry (AMAF), which will meet on October 3-8, 2011 in Jakarta, Indonesia.
For more information about the conference, visit the conference blogsite at: http://aseanfoodsecurityfoodproduction.wordpress.com/
PAKISAMA, represented by its National Council Chairperson Vicente Fabe, joined other farmer groups and advocates in a protest action yesterday over the recent decision by the Supreme Court declaring that Cojuangco’s 20% share in San Miguel Corporation was not bought with the levy paid by coconut farmers.
By Jun Virola (email@example.com)
Tiaong, Quezon, Philippines, 17 June 2011 – Farmers can augment their income from farming by raising native chicken through the natural farming system.
Following this lead, PAKISAMA farmers and their supporters visited the Earthkeepers learning farm in Quezon province today to see how such a system works.
Vicente Fabe, PAKISAMA National Council Chair, sees a huge potential in raising native chicken naturally.
“It looks sustainable and can earn good income, but we need to watch out for diseases, which can also be cured naturally,” he said.
PRESS STATEMENT (Contact: soc banzuela,434 2079)
PAKISAMA Statement Condemning the Assassination of Another PAKISAMA Leader, Florita “Nang Flor” Caya
The Pambansang Kilusan ng mga Samahang Magsasaka (PAKISAMA) condemns in strongest possible terms the April 27 dastardly assassination of Florita “Nang Flor” Caya (58), General Manager of a local indigenous peoples’ organization (UTCEL) and Vice-President of a national rural peasant women organization (LAKAMBINI) affiliated to PAKISAMA Confederation. According to police autopsy/investigation, at 7 PM of April 27, 2011, while tending her store at the poblacion of Monkayo, Compostela Valley, Florita “Nang Flor” Caya (58) was shot at the back of her head. Her face just below the right eye was blown away. Witnesses saw a man hurriedly walking away from the store and quickly riding at the back of a motorcycle driven by another man.
Nang Flor was a newly-elected general manager of Unified Tribal Council of Elders and Leaders (UTCEL), a group of indigenous peoples (Mandaya, Manobo, Mangguangan & Dibabawon) awarded in 2004 by the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) a Certificate of Ancestral Domain Title covering 30,468 hectares in 14 barangays of Monkayo, Compostela Valley.
“This is too much! Why Nang Flor!” exclaimed Vicente Fabe, Chairperson of PAKISAMA, a national peasant confederation with presence in 42 provinces in the country. Nang Flor is the third national leader of PAKISAMA, all hailing from Mindanao, gunned down by assassins in a span of two and a half years. Vicente Paglinawan (November 22, 2008) from Davao City and Renato Penas (July 5, 2009) from Sumilao, Bukidnon were assassinated in their respective villages at the height of a campaign for the passage of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program Extension with Reforms (CARPER) law. Until now, their killers have not been brought to justice.
As initial members of the Philippine Working Group for the IFAD-FAO Medium Term Cooperation Project on Capacity Building for Farmers Organizations in the Philippines (MTCP-Phils), the Pambansang Kilusan ng mga Samahang Magsasaka (PAKISAMA), the Free Farmers’ Federation (FFF), and the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) co-organized the Philippine Farmers’ Forum (Phil FaFo) 2010 last November 8-10 in Quezon City, Philippines.
Representatives from 13 national farmers’ organizations (FOs) included in the initial mapping activity of PAKISAMA, FFF, and KMP in the Philippines attended the forum, which tackled three pressing issues currently facing the farmers’ sector: (1) access to land and productive resources; (2) food security and sustainable agriculture amidst climate change; and (3) access to market/trade.
The forum also included a discussion on the MTCP project and how the FOs (farmers’ organizations) can be better involved in the project and strengthen their engagement with the country offices of the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), as well as with the national government.
Continue reading Philippine farmers’ groups hold national forum
AFA and PAKISAMA supports the campaign of the residents of the town of Casiguran in Quezon province, Philippines (mostly farmers, fishers, and indigenous peoples) who will be displaced by the creation of a special economic zone in the area.
The Sentro ng Alternatibong Lingap Panligal (SALIGAN), together with the Task Force Anti-APECO, held the first of a series of fora on “Addressing the APECO” in Quezon City, Philippines last June 4, 2010.
The activity convened multi-sectoral partners in support of affected residents of Casiguran, Aurora, largely comprised of farmers, fisher folk and indigenous peoples, who will be displaced by the passage of RA 10083 or the Aurora Pacific Economic Zone (APECO) law.
Continue reading AFA, PAKISAMA supports rural residents to be affected by special economic zone
The Asian Farmers’ Association for Sustainable Rural Development (AFA) and the Women Organizing for Change in Agriculture and NRM (WOCAN) are conducting the “Leadership Course for Women & Men Supporting Gender Equality” on May 24 – 31, 2010 in the Philippines.
The training has two parts:
–May 24-27 will be a trainers’ training with one person from AFA and four persons from PAKISAMA (4 women, 1 man)
–May 28-31 will be a training for a larger group of participants from the PAKISAMA National Council, National Execom, LAKAMBINI (women’s group in PAKISAMA), and the AFA secretariat
Continue reading AFA, WOCAN conduct gender leadership training in the Philippines
Women leaders from Asia, representing AFA, La Via Campesina and other farmers’ organizations, participated in the Global Farmers’ Forum held in Rome on February 15-16, 2010.
The women leaders included Ms. Kong Sokchhoin (FNN, Cambodia), Ms. Flora Caya (PAKISAMA, Philippines), India Smitha (SEWA, India), Ms. Amalia Pulungan (API, Indonesia), Ms. Esther Penunia (AFA), Ms. Marlene Ramirez (AsiaDHRRA), among others.
Together with other women leaders from all over the world, they raised the issues and concerns of small scale women and men farmers. Ms. Caya also talked about the impact of mining corporations on women farmers.
The third global meeting of the Farmers’ Forum was held in conjunction with the Thirty-third session of IFAD’s Governing Council. The Forum brought together more than 70 farmers’ leaders from around the world, representing millions of smallholders and rural producers from all over the world who interacted with IFAD staff and selected partners. The Forum was opened by the President of IFAD, Kanayo Nwanze. Its closing session, in the afternoon of Tuesday, 16 February, was open to the members of IFAD’s governing bodies (Source: IFAD website).
Following a recommendation of the 2008 Forum meeting, a special effort has been made by participating farmers’ organizations to increase women’s presence and voice in the event. A preparatory meeting was held on 13 February to reflect on how to promote women’s leadership in farmers’ organizations. The commitment to have at least 30 per cent of women farm leaders participating in the Forum has been achieved (Source: IFAD website).
(Photos and information courtesy of Ms. Amalia Pulungan, API, Indonesia.)
AFA wishes to thank all of you who sent your generous expressions of sympathy and solidarity for PAKISAMA and the family of our beloved and esteemed farmer-leader, Renato Penas, who was murdered last June 5.
AFA joined the activities of PAKISAMA last June 6-12 in honor of Ka Rene when his body was brought to Metro Manila. Together with many farmers, NGOs, students, and other supporters of the agrarian reform movement in the Philippines, we joined the memorial services, masses, and marches for Ka Rene; as well as solicited financial assistance for the bereaved family. We also printed out and handed over your messages to his wife and children. His body was brought back to Mindanao and buried last June 16.
The search for truth and justice continues. A multi-sectoral body aimed at conducting an independent Fact Finding Mission (FFM) to be able to gather evidence and other information that could help surface the motive behind the killing of Ka Rene Peñas was launched. PAKISAMA welcomes any donation to cover the expenses of this investigation.
Renato Penas, Vice-President of PAKISAMA, was ambushed dead by unidentified gunmen at 11:00 PM yesterday, on the way to his farm in Sumilao, Bukidnon.
He was 51.
His 2 companions are in the hospital nursing gunshot wounds.
It was a high price to pay for selflessly dedicating himself to the agrarian reform movement.
He is one of the most respected, trusted farmer-leaders, and whose creative, dynamic ideas have fired the spirits of many farmers to make the agrarian reform program truly work in the country.
MANILA, Philippines—With few fireworks, the House of Representatives passed on third and final reading Wednesday night the bill extending the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program for five years and providing it a P100-billion budget for land acquisition and distribution.
On the last session day of the House before it went on sine die adjournment, 211 congressmen voted for, 13 were against while two abstained from voting on House Bill 4077, or the proposed CARPER (CARP with Extension and Reforms) Law, principally authored by Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman and Akbayan party-list Rep. Risa Hontiveros, which restores the provision allowing the “compulsory acquisition” of lands.
”The acquisition and distribution of all remaining agricultural lands shall be extended for a period of five years from the effectivity of this Act,” the bill said, adding that after June 30, 2009, the modes of acquisition shall be limited to voluntary offer to sell and compulsory acquisition.
(Ka Vic Fabe and Ka Sita Esmao of PAKISAMA are among the farmers who were arrested by the police and hauled off to a police camp. They were later released without charges at around 2:00 AM the next day, June 4.)
MANILA, Philippines – (UPDATE 2) Around 200 rain-soaked farmers breached the north gate of the Batasan Pambansa complex and held a rally at the doorstep of the session hall building on Wednesday to press for the passage of a bill extending the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP).
The farmers pushed for House Bill 4077 or the CARP extension with reforms on the last day of session before Congress adjourns sine die.
After over an hour outside the session hall, police, who were armed with shields dispersed the protesters and loaded them on three buses that would bring them to Camp Karingal, a police camp in Quezon City. There were no reported injuries.
(Ms. Luisita Esmao, or Ate Sita as we call her, is a widow, rice and coconut farmer from the town of Tayabas, province of Quezon, in the Philippines. She is also President of LAKAMBINI or Lakas ng Kababaihan sa Kanayunan [Strength of Women in the Countryside], a national organization of small scale women farmers in the Philippines. LAKAMBINI is the women’s organization affiliated with PAKISAMA or Pambansang Kilusan ng mga Samahang Magsasaka [National Movement of Peasant Movements], a national confederation of small scale farmers, fishers and IP organizations in the country. PAKISAMA is a member of AFA.)
1. How does Climate Change affect women farmers and how can they better adapt to it?
As a whole, climate change will decrease soil potential and lessen produce. Women who prepare food on the table will find it more difficult to ensure nutritious and adequate food for the family. For women in rice-farming communities who are in charge of sowing seedlings during the planting season, drought will mean even less opportunity for them to be employed as farm labor. In general, women augment farm income by getting employed as hired labor and there will be less opportunities when climate change worsens farming potential. Women can adopt by intensifying backyard food production but this will mean more support for basic services like water for the homes and additional nutritional supplements for the children.
Rene Peñas, PAKISAMA’s National Vice President, drops a streamer rapel-style from the pedestrian overpass in front of St. Peter’s Church in Commonwealth Avenue, Quezon City. PAKISAMA is joined by farmers from Sumilao, Banasi and Calatagan, fisherfolk leaders from MAMAMAYAN, and students from the University of Caloocan.