Category Archives: Member: FNN

Success Story (Cambodia): Toek Thla Samaki saving group

The Toek Thla Samaki saving group Toek Thla Village, Trapaing Krosaing Commune, Prey Kabas District Takeo Province was established in 2008 with 16 members and a saving capital of $40. With the support of AFOSP-MTCP2 through the Farmer and Nature Net in Cambodia starting 2014, the group conducted training and support from FNN staff and was able to increase its saving capital to $125,000 and its membership to 312 members. The provincial department of agriculture in Takeo got interested and invited the committee to give training and the group also got registered as a cooperative. Today, it has 661 members, 397 of which are women, and a saving capital of $300,000. Members get 1.7% interest on savings every month, loans are provided at 1.9 to 3% interest per month, and depositors get an interest of 12% per year.

“With the profit, the group contributes $15,000 to the institutional fund, $2,000 to the social fund, and $40 to $80 to the service committees. It also now closes its balance using a computer system.” — Chhong Sophal, Program Coordinator, FNN.


AFA holds learning exchange visit in Cambodia

visit collage 01The Asian Farmers’ Association for Sustainable Rural Development (AFA), in cooperation with Farmer and Nature Net (FNN), held a member-to-member cooperation and learning exchange visit last March 9-13, 2015 in Cambodia.

The visit was one of the activities under the project entitled “Advocacy for Increased Government Support for Sustainable Agriculture and Farmer-led Enterprises” funded by Agriterra.

Participants included Sidig Pamungkas, Manager of the Organic Rice Enterprise of APOLI (a local member organization of Aliansi Petani Indonesia or API in Central Java); Hasthanari Pamintasih, Finance staff of API and support staff/translator to farmer leaders’ representative; Sushma Neuphane, Youth woman entrepreneur and youth woman leader of National Land Rights Forum (NLRF); Jagat Deuja, Executive Director of Community Self-Reliance Center (CSRC); and, Victoria Serrato, Enterprise development and Marketing Officer of AFA.
Continue reading AFA holds learning exchange visit in Cambodia

Primacy of strong FO presence in GAFSP project affirmed in KM session

With support from Agricord, through AsiaDHRRA and CSA, AFA hosted a knowledge session focused on drawing out key lessons on farmers’ engagement in  the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP), particularly through the project entitled “Supporting Inclusive Planning of country projects financed by the GAFSP” last November 8-10, 2012 in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. The learning session was participated by FOs and NGOs from four countries, namely, Mongolia, Nepal, Bangladesh and Cambodia.  It was also an opportunity for South-South learning exchange with the participation of Mamadou Cissokho, a key leader of ROPPA, a strong regional farmer federation from Senegal.

Results of the activity will feed into efforts at strengthening FO involvement in government agri policies and programs as well as in future project proposals that may be developed to support FO involvement in policy making processes for GAFSP.

One of the major lessons learned was the primacy of a strong farmers’ organization with capacity to constructively engage government and other stakeholders as key to the success of any food security program like GAFSP.

Click here to download the workshop results

Ramon Magsaysay award for Cambodia’s Dr. Yang Saing Koma

AFA congratulates Dr. Yang Saing Koma, founder of the Center for Cambodian Center for Study and Development in Agriculture (CEDAC) for being one of this year’s recipients of the Ramon Magsaysay award. CEDAC help found the organization of small farmers in Cambodia called Farmer and Nature Net (FNN), which is now a close partner of CEDAC and an active member of AFA. FNN’s Chairperson, Mr. Uon Sophal, is also the Chairperson of AFA. Dr. Koma delivered a lecture series for the Ramon Magsaysay Center on August 29, with AFA Secretary General Esther Penunia as discussant. Dr. Koma will formally receive the RM award tonight, together with other recipients. Below is the link to an article about Dr. Koma that appeared today in the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

Cambodian rice expert produces ‘more with less’

When he introduced his novel rice production method to Cambodian farmers more than a decade ago, Yang Saing Koma had to battle skeptics who laughed at his idea. How could less irrigation and shallower planting result in higher yield?

But Koma, founder of the Cambodian Center for Study and Development in Agriculture (Cedac), only had to tap one brave farmer to get his program going.

Today, his System of Rice Intensification (SRI) is an official rice production method endorsed by the Cambodian government, credited for doubling the country’s total rice output in the last decade.

And while other Asian nations, the Philippines included, still depend on rice imports, the country of almost 15 million is looking to expand its market internationally as grains constantly grow by Koma’s design.

Continue reading Ramon Magsaysay award for Cambodia’s Dr. Yang Saing Koma

AFA calls for farmers’ participation in irrigation projects

The Asian Farmers’ Association for Sustainable Rural Development (AFA) called on the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to ensure the meaningful participation of small-scale farmers in designing, implementing, monitoring and evaluating irrigation projects.

AFA made the call during the Asian Irrigation Forum (AIF) held on 11-13 April 2012 at the ADB Headquarters in Manila, Philippines.

The Asian ADB organized the forum to “review the region’s performance in irrigation and irrigated agriculture, explore the future of irrigation and drainage in rural development, and identify needs and opportunities for strengthened partnerships to deliver more productive irrigation services throughout the region.”

AFA was represented by Chairperson and FNN President Uon Sophal, FNN Staff Noy Kimhong, Sec General Esther Penunia, Policy Advocacy Officer Lany Rebagay, and Marketing Officer Vicky Serrato.

AFA delivered the following messages during the forum:

-Small-scale women, men and young farmers recognize the importance of irrigation in improving productivity and ensuring food security.

-Government should invest in community-based irrigation system, small to medium irrigation scheme, reservoirs and support water-saving farming technology like SRI and other infrastructure that will support efficient use of water e.g. rainwater harvesting storage facilities, repair of irrigation system.

-Ensure meaningful participation of small-scale farmers in designing, implementing, monitoring and evaluating irrigation projects.

-Alongside improvement of irrigation systems, government should make coherent policies that would ensure productivity and food security through appropriate and sustainable policies on land use, granting of rights/access and control of small farmers to productive resources like land, water, seeds including access to markets.

-Expand private-public partnership to include small-scale farmers, CSO, private and public partnership in the principle of social and solidarity economy.

CSOs attending the forum also emphasized the importance of “land tenure to encourage investments, the need to institutionalize participation of CSOs/farmers and inclusion from the beginning and not just in implementation, insufficient water supplies, the need to have access to technology and be ‘trained’, and concerns about ‘privatizing’ irrigation, and the need to make farming profitable.”

The CSOs expressed hoped that these messages will be taken into account as the organizers prepare the forum synthesis and recommendations which will help shape ADB’s agenda on irrigation and drainage for the next 10-15 years.

Click here for more information on the Asian Irrigation Forum

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.

Click here for more photos

Click here for videos

OXFAM, SEAFISH, AFA co-organize forum on food security and climate change adaptation

Esther Penunia, Secretary General, AFA

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:

Continue reading OXFAM, SEAFISH, AFA co-organize forum on food security and climate change adaptation

Cambodian farmers learn natural farming in India

Natural/organic food mean to our lives and nature friendly, especially it reflects a responsiblity of producers for themeselves and for customers

(written and translated into English by Pan Sopheap, FNN)

Karnataka, India — Farmer and researcher representatives from 12 countries paid a 4-day field visits plus a one-day reflection workshop in Karnataka state, south of India, in order to expose ideas and experiences on food sovereignty.

The event hosted by Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha (KRRS), in cooperation with La Via Campesina (LVC) from November 2-6, 2011. The participants learned vast experiences from the Indian farmers regarding food sovereignty through application a method of Zero Budget Natural Farming and had also exchanged experiences with other participating countries.

Farmer leaders from 9 national level organizations in South and Southeast Asia, as well as 3 partner countries (researchers) from Latin America, Europe and North America shared their experiences and analysis of a common issues and challenges of the farmers and came up with some recommendations for the farmers, governments, inter-government bodies, and civil society organizations.

Continue reading Cambodian farmers learn natural farming in India

FNN attends land rights conference in Chang Mai

An organic farmer from FNN shows his bitter gourd harvest. Many small farmers in Cambodia are struggling to secure access to land, while improving food security through sustainable agriculture practices.

by Pan Sopheap, FNN

Chang Mai, Thailand — Mr. Mao That, FNN representative, attended the conference on land rights in Chang Mai last November 9-11, 2011.

Participants to the conference shared their experiences from different countries on land rights issues and how they are responding to them.

A conference statement was issued on the need to raise awareness on land rights and to speed up land titling to secure tenure of small farmers, as well as the implementation of land reform.

AFA pushes rural development agenda in ASEAN

Civil society organizations concerned with rural development have been engaging ASEAN in order to pursue agriculture, fisheries and people-centered development, which promotes the well-being of the rural poor and marginalized sectors, especially farmers, fishers, and indigenous peoples.

In the process, they also aim to develop institutionalized mechanisms for the regular consultation and participation of farmers, fishers, indigenous peoples, rural women, and rural development NGOs on matters affecting these sectors.

AFA had another opportunity to push forward this agenda in the recently concluded ASEAN Special Seniors’ Officers’ Meeting for the 32nd ASEAN Ministers of Agriculture and Forestry (SSOM-AMAF) held at Angkor Era Hotel in Siem Reap, Cambodia last August 8-9, 2011.

Continue reading AFA pushes rural development agenda in ASEAN

AFA joins ASEAN food security conference

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.

Click here to download Uon Sophal’s powerpoint presentation.

Click here for more information about the conference.

AFA to join ASEAN food security conference in Manila

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:

AFA holds study tour on organic marketing and renewable energy

Marketing of organic products where farmers get a bigger share of the value chain. Clean and renewable energy systems that are appropriate for rural communities. These are just some of the concerns of small scale women and men farmers in Asia.

The Asian Farmers’ Association for Sustainable Rural Development (AFA) arranged a study tour for its Cambodian member Farmer and Nature Net (FNN) and Laos partner Social & Economic Developers Association (SEDA-Laos) last March 2, 2011 in the Philippines in order to share some of the best practices of local NGOs and POs on these two important subjects.

Continue reading AFA holds study tour on organic marketing and renewable energy

Asian women leaders raise their voices at the global farmers’ forum

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.)

Get more updates from the IFAD website and the IFAD social reporting blog

Issue paper on ASEAN now available in local languages

Farmers in ASEAN member-countries such as Cambodia, Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam, and Thailand, can now understand more about ASEAN issues related to farmers in the region through an issue paper that has been translated into local languages.

The issue paper entitled “Understanding the ASEAN Charter and the ASEAN Economic Community Blueprint”, published by AFA and AsiaDHRRA, is now available in Khmer, Bahasa, Tagalog, Viertnamese, and Thai versions.

AFA members from ASEAN countries (FNN in Cambodia, API in Indonesia, PAKISAMA in the Philippines, VNFU in Vietnam, and SORKORPOR in Thailand) did the translation of the issue paper for distribution to farmers in their respective countries.

Through the local versions of the issue paper, it is expected that farmers belonging to AFA member organizations will understand more about ASEAN-related issues affecting them and appreciate the efforts of their national farmers’ organizations on regional advocacy through AFA.

As part of its advocacy effort in the Asian region, AFA conducts dialogues and consultations with ASEAN to understand more the issues concerning farmers and agriculture and put forward the farmers’ analysis and position on these issues, in the hope of affecting the regional inter-government body’s policies and activities.

Continue reading Issue paper on ASEAN now available in local languages

In the News: Farm sell-offs endanger Cambodian rice production 2008-03-24 10:50:17

(Uon Sophal is the chief of a village-based farmers’ association belonging to FNN, an AFA member in Cambodia. Sophal represented FNN to AFA’s regional consultation in Bangkok last year and 3rd general assembly in Korea early this year.)

PHNOM PENH, March 24 (Xinhua) — Rice production will be reduced in Cambodia if rice fields continue to be sold to be converted to business, factory or residential sites, the Mekong Times newspaper reported Monday, citing an Agriculture Ministry official.

“We are worried that, in the future, only non-fertile land will remain for cultivation because most of the rice fields will have been sold off,” Kit Seng, director of the planning department of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF), was quoted by the newspaper as saying.

Uon Sophal, a farmer in Cambodia’s Kampot province, said that if current land transaction trends continue, most farmland will end up in the hands of the rich. “Then farmers will find it more difficult to afford food,” he said. “I would like to appeal to farmers not to sell their land because this will cause a shortage of farmland and it will drive rice prices up, which will be a burden on the country.”

Continue reading In the News: Farm sell-offs endanger Cambodian rice production

Cambodian farmers get training on “shop cooperatives”

FNN, in cooperation with CEDAC, conducted a 3-day training workshop on “Shop Cooperatives” last November 2007 in Phnom Penh under AFA’s technical assistance project.

It was attended by 60 participants, 17 of whom are women, from 9 provinces in Cambodia. It covered topics such as the process and concept of shop cooperatives, concept of business, how to calculate profit, gross-net income and gross-net profit, bookkeeping and recording, and basics of a shop cooperative.

The following are the tools used in the training, which have been translated into English:

Instruction Manual for Bookkeeping System.doc

Financial Report Format

Book keeping format

FNN (Cambodia) to convene 3rd General Assembly

FNN will hold its 3rd General Assembly on 3-4 December 2005 in Prey veng Province, Cambodia

The objectives of this event are:

1. To share experienses and progress of farmer association
2. To spread the FNN statute among the member and observers
3. To discuss and approve internal regulations; activities, plan and budget of FNN for 2006

Below are pictures from the 2nd General Assembly held last year in Kompong Chan Province

FNN 2004 General Assembly01 FNN 2004 General Assembly02

FNN 2004 General Assembly03 FNN 2004 General Assembly04

Election of Officers and the elected Officers of FNN for 2004