AFA Initiatives with Farmers in Forested Land Scapes Struggles. Actions. Lessons Learned. 2017 Edition

AFA Initiatives with Farmers in Forested Land Scapes
Struggles. Actions. Lessons Learned.
2017 Edition

This is a compilation of case studies written by AFA members who implemented FFF projects in 2015-2016. The cases reflect the struggles, the actions and the lessons learned by AFA members in organizing and building the capacities of their members in forested landscapes, at village, commune or district/town levels, in pursuit of the five priority agenda of AFA: promote secure tenurial rights over land and forest resources, produce diverse and nutritious food through sustainable agri-forestry, build and strengthen family farmers cooperatives and their enterprises, empower women members and attact youth to agriculture.

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AFFM trains farmer members on mushroom production

With increasing demand from restaurants and wholesalers, mushroom holds a lot of potential for small farmers in Myanmar.

Last May 6, farmers from Tedim township farmers unions involving 10 villages in Chin underwent a training on mushroom growing.

The training was organized by AFFM and its partner NEED, with Executive Director Khaing Dhu Wan as facilitator.

The one-day training allowed the farmers to learn about permarculture ethic and principles and sustainable agriculture livelihood security.

“This practical agricultural training is very important because farmers lack technical knowledge on how to grow straw mushroom or other mushroom varieties, how to produce them for the market, and how to add value to their agricultural products,” AFFM staff Tichia Pan said.

Mushroom is beneficial to farmers as a source of quick income .

On the other hand, farmers also need to learn how to form production clusters for different commodities like rice, beans, coffee and tea.

These can be the subject for a future training.

(With report and photos from Tichia Pan of AFFM)

Click here for more photos

 

AFA joins RECOERDO learning visit to Europe

afa joins recuerdo european learning visit

AFA members and staff are in Europe together with the chairperson and vice-chairperson of the ASEAN Sectoral Working Group on Agricultural Cooperatives (ASWGAC) for a learning visit to France and Begium to get the lessons from different agricultural cooperative models. The learning visit is co-organized by AFA partners CSA and AsiaDHRRA. Through the ASEAN Foundation, AFOSP-MTCP2 supports the participation of ASWGAC leaders while AFA participation is supported by AsiaDHRRA’s RECOERDO program, of which AFA and CSA are associated partners. (Report and photo by Lany Rebagay)

FOREST AND FARM PRODUCER ORGANIZATIONS RAISE ISSUES AND FORGE PARTNERSHIP AT A FORESTRY KNOWLEDGE EXCHANGE IN NEPAL

Kathmandu, Nepal — Forty six representatives of farm and forest producer organizations and community forest user groups in Nepal gathered last March 28 in Kathmandu to share knowledge and experiences on sustainable forestry and forest management, identify common policy advocacy issues they can bring to government and establish partnership for taking action together.

The “Knowledge Exchange on Sustainable Forestry and Forest Management” was organized by the Asian Farmers’ Association for Sustainable Rural Development (AFA), National Land Rights Forum (NLRF), Central Tea Cooperative Federation (CTCF) Nepal, Federation of Community Forestry Users, Nepal (FECOFUN) and All Nepal Peasants’ Federation (ANPFa) with support from FAO’s Forest & Farm Facility (FFF).

National Farmers Group’s Federation Chairperson Uddhab Adhikari said during the forum that while community forest practices in Nepal have contributed to an increase in its forest cover to 44% in recent decades, the government still has not programmatically understood the inextricable relation of communities with forests and has not given sufficient community access to land, forest and water resources as a basic human right that can help improve the lives of poor, landless and small women and men farmers.

He added that “the poor and landless are often seen as destroyers of forests and are cruelly evicted, while the rich and powerful capture public places and forests” and emphasized the need for policy makers, farm producers and community forest user groups to come together to address these conflicts and to promote agro-farming to improve livelihoods of community people who directly depend on forests.

Association of Family Forest Organization of Nepal Chairperson Jogaraj Giri said that community forests policies that were intended to bring social and economic development of women, the poor and the marginalized have brought about positive outcomes in terms of sustainable forest management, but he pointed out that government is promoting corporate farming, wild life conservation and bio-diversity, while forest and farm producer organizations are focused on conservation through full community participation, access of marginalized communities to natural resources for their livelihood, and sustainable forest management through a bottoms-up approach.

He pointed out that “with the changing context in Nepal characterized by a shift of power from central to local, there is tremendous opportunity to establish community rights to natural resources like forest, land and water” but there must be strategy to avoid reducing community rights to sustainable forest management and its delegation to provincial and not the local level.

FECOFUN General Secretary Bharati Pathak said that Nepal’s community forestry practices are the most successful in the world and there are many useful policies for promoting livelihoods of poor and marginalized such as the provision on 50% participation of women in community forest user groups and the utilization of 35% of their annual income for poor users’ livelihood improvement, but the challenge is in the implementation as the government has no real monitoring mechanism to measure their effectiveness, so they often only exist on paper.

She emphasized the need to “set up a strategy to implement these policies and make government accountable by empowering community people as they are the ones who preserve, need and love the forest, so there can be no one more sincerely responsible for protecting their natural resources” and said that FECOFUN is now focused on community property rights and finding the link between forests and farms by analysing national and international experiences, treaty and agreements in the context of Nepal.

She added that community forest user groups do not want to evict real landless people, but there is another challenge of the forests being captured by others, and that the conflict has to be solved by government with favourable policy formulation and institutions and FECOFUN is ready to collaborate in this way.

Right to Food Network Dr. Keshab Khadka of ANPFa said that the increase in Nepal’s forest cover from 19% to 44% is laudable but there remains the problem of eviction by marginalized people whose livelihood prospects have not been incorporated in resource utilization that contributes to sustainable forest management.

He pointed out that “social organizations have not united in a common agenda and have separately advocated for water, land and forests with limited results” and urged like-minded organizations to cooperate on initiatives to establish community right on sustainable natural resource management including knowledge sharing, capacity enhancement and joint advocacy on common issues.

National Land Rights Forum former Chairperson Som Prasad Bhandari said that proper alternatives are needed to stop forceful eviction from forest areas, such as supporting the Managed Settlement Commission to identify the real needy people living in the forest while the community forest user groups can give provide user cards to the landless who are deprived of access to forest products.

He emphasized that “minimum 35% annual income of community forest user groups must be utilized for landless, dalits and small farmers who are categorized in the lowest rank as provided by the government policy” and also called for collaboration among like-minded organizations to come up with a joint policy influence strategy to intervene with policy makers on favourable policies for the communities they are working for.

Participants identified several challenges such as lack of clear policy on agroforestry, the common understanding of community forests as being for conservation only and not for utilization, leadership of most community forest user groups by socio-economically strong persons such as male upper-caste political leaders.

They also identified opportunities such as the draft of an agroforestry guideline, the existence of a Managed Settlement Commission, and the signing on of the government to the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security.

They also cited many experience that can be built upon such as the agroforestry program being conducted by FECOFUN with support by the Forest and Farm Facility, the agro-forest support program supported by IUCN which focuses on agro-based entrepreneurship, and the linking of community property rights and community land reform by NLRF.

During the workshop that followed the presentations and discussions, participants identified the following issues and concerns that they want to raise to government:
– Full utilization and conservation rights of communities toward natural resources
– Sustainable livelihood issues of landless, women and small farmers, and forest based marginal communities
– Policy for forest-based farm production like herbs, fruits, livestock, and high value crops
– Appropriate compensation of wild life attacks on farm production and human lives
– Favourable policies on natural resources (water, land and forest) for poor, landless, women and small holder farmers.
– Ensuring that benefits of carbon trade go directly to communities

They also agreed to the following partnerships that can be established on sustainable forestry and forest management in Nepal:
– Joint campaign for the 35% budget utilization to address the livelihood issues of poor, landless, marginalized and small holder farmers in community forest user groups
– Integrated advocacy strategy of like-minded organizations on the issues of landless, small holder and women farmers, and marginalized communities related to forest, land, agriculture and water
– Knowledge exchange and capacity building between organizations and with targeted communities
– Common position and advocacy on the policy formulation process of government on common issues
– Initiatives to enhance community resilience to climate change and skills upgrade for communities to benefit from agroforestry

There was also a talk show and a sharing of experiences from the field visit of some forest and farm producer organizations during the forum (to be reported in separate articles).

SOURCE: http://asianfarmers.org/?p=4933

Aliansi Petani Indonesia to work for greater self-sufficiency and sustainability

In a national leaders meeting held on April 21-23 in Jakarta, Aliansi Petani Indonesia formulated strategic actions to keep the farmer organization self-sufficient, sustainably managed and regenerated.

The meeting was attended by 21 member organizations of API from 14 provinces.

A coffee cupping session was also organized on the evening of the first day, where participants tasted different coffee varieties from famous places in the country and learned about methods to manage coffee beans to get a fair price in the market.

(Photos and report from Ika Krishnayanti)

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AFA conducts cooperative development forum in Vietnam and Nepal

One of the five point priority agenda of the Asian Farmers Association for Sustainable Rural Development (AFA) is to build and strengthen farmers’ cooperatives and their enterprises that will give farmers a stronger involvement in value chains and increase their market power. Thus, AFA has established a Cooperative Development Program which aims to “build a strong and viable network of farmers’ cooperatives, owned and controlled by small scale family farmers, engaged in sustainable and growing business enterprises that leverage economies of scale.”

A starting point for the roadmap to building and strengthening farmers cooperatives is the conduct of Cooperative Development Forum at national level.

For the month of March, Cooperative Development Forum were conducted in Nepal and Vietnam.

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[“Unlocking the Potentials of Agricultural Cooperatives to Deliver Services to the Small Scale Forest and Farm Producers in Nepal”, March 24, 2017, Kathmandu, Nepal. Photo by AFA.]

In Nepal, the workshop was entitled “Unlocking the Potentials of Agricultural Cooperatives to Deliver Services to the Small Scale Forest and Farm Producers in Nepal”, held last March 24, organized by AFA, with members National Land Rights Forum (NLRF) and Central Tea Cooperative Federation (CTCF), and AFA partner All Nepal Peasant Federations Association (ANPFA) with the support of FAO-Forest and Farm Facility. The workshop was attended by 51 participants from cooperatives, farmer organizations, non-goverment organizations and government ministries of cooperatives and rural development.

[“Knowledge and Experience of Agricultural Cooperatives in Vietnam and Delivery of Services to Accelerate their Growth and Development: Cooperative Development Forum”, March 27-29, 2017, Hanoi Vietnam. Photo by Nonoy Villas]

In Vietnam, the workshop was entitled: “Knowledge and Experience of Agricultural Cooperatives in Vietnam and Delivery of Services to Accelerate their Growth and Development: Cooperative Development Forum”, held last March 27-29, organized by Vietnam Farmers Union (VNFU), with Collectif Strategies Alimentaries (CSA), Asian Partnership for the Development of Human Resources in Rural Asia (AsiaDHRRA) and AFA. The workshop was attended by 64 participants representing leaders of cooperatives at commune, district and provincial levels, as well as national leaders of VNFU and the Vietnam Cooperative Alliance and their development partners and representatives from the Department of Cooperatives.

In both workshops, the policy environment for the agricultural/farmers cooperatives was initially examined, the initiatives of selected farmers’ cooperatives were shared, a strategy framework for cooperative development was presented, and the possible models and approaches of a national cooperative strategy was discussed.

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.

SOURCE: http://www.asiapacificfarmersforum.com/success-story-cambodia-toek-thla-samaki-saving-group/

AFA Vice Chairperson receives prestigious RTV award in Bangladesh

Ms. Shazada Begum, President of Kendrio Krishak Moitree (KKM) and Vice President of the Asian Farmers’ Association (AFA), has been been honored with the “RTV Alokito Nari 2017″ (Enlightened Woman) award.

This is one of the most prestigious awards in Bangladesh that honors change makers like Shazada.

The private satellite TV channel RTV honored eight enlightened women marking International Women’s Day 2017.

The programme was held at the Bangabandhu International Conference Centre last March 9 and the title of the programme was “Joya Alokito Nari- 2017.”

In the eight categories, eight enlightened women received awards for their contribution and they are Professor Mahfuza Khanam (Education), Farida Parvin (Music), Shujata Azim (Acting, Film), Luna Samsuddin (IT), DIG Mili Biswas (Police), Shazada Begum (Agriculture),  Jubera Rahman Lini(Sports) and Sawkat Naznin Khan (Youth).

“RTV Alokito Nari” award has been going on since 2013 and this is first time they listed agriculture as one of the categories.

(With report and photos from ActionAid Bangladesh)

VNFU hosts high level exchange visit on land use with Nepal government and CSO

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Hanoi, Vietnam — Vietnam Farmers Union (VNFU) hosted a high level study visit on Land Use with a six-person delegation from Nepal headed by Mr. Krishna Prasad Devkota, Secretary of the Ministry of Land Reform and Management. The Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Mr. Nguyen Linh Ngoc received the delegation on behalf of the Vietnam government. Mr. Lai Xuan Mon, Member of Central Party Committee, Chairman of Vietnam Farmers’ Union received the delegation as the host organization.

The exchange visit, held March 7-11, 2017, was a joint initiative of the government of Nepal, National Land Rights Forum (NLRF), and Vietnam Farmers’ Union (VNFU), in coordination with Community Self Reliance Centre (CSRC), partner NGO of NLRF, and AFA. Both NLRF and VNFU are members of AFA.

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The Nepalese team interacted with farmers, policy makers and officials of local and provincial level government about the land reform during their visit.

Nepal’s Ministry of Land reform has been formulating the national land policy and also drafting land use act. The learning visit was organized to learn from Vietnam, a country that has been successful in its land reform program especially on land use. After successful land reform, Vietnam became second largest rice exporter in the world. The Nepal government will put into use its leanings from this study visit. It is set to revise its land use policy, to make it more comprehensive, and to include better use of forests and agricultural lands in order to bring sustainable livelihoods to poor people.

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Vietnam’s Deputy Minister Nguyen Linh Ngoc expressed interest to further support the land reform processes of the Nepal Government, through financial and technical means.

Capitalizing bitter bamboo group experience and improving marketing of bitter bamboo shoots (Lao Farmer Network)

Non-timber forest products such as bamboo shoots are a very important food and source of income for farmers in rural areas of Laos. Sustainable management of bamboo is important for food security, and improvement of the bamboo value chain can help increase incomes for rural people. That is why the Lao Farmer Network (LFN), a national farmer platform in the country, is highly interested in capitalizing the experiences of its member, the bitter bamboo group, in managing the forest and marketing their products.

Bitter bamboo is a unique type of bamboo that is available in a few areas in Laos such as Hoaphan and Oudomxay provinces. The shoots are harvested in December to March when they are still underground. Once the shoots have grown above the surface, they start to taste very bitter. So, farmers harvest the shoots while they are still small and underground.

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The bitter bamboo group of Nampheng village, Namor district, Oudomxay province has more than a decade of experience in collectively managing their resources as well as marketing bamboo shoots. Through sustainable practices, the forest area has been maintained and villagers are enjoying reliable harvest and incomes.

The group has very strict rules that allow villagers to harvest the shoots only from December to end of March, after which the group declares the close of the forest. The group also bans the use of hoe to avoid damage to the bamboo. Young trees are protected while older trees that are more than 3 years old are allowed to be cut.

In terms of marketing, all villagers have to sell the shoots to the group. The group has a contract with a buyer who gives money upfront. The members get their money right away from the group once the shoots have been delivered to the group. Regarding the trader selection, the group makes the decision based on offers from different buyers. For this year, a trader in the nearest town got the contract because he offers a higher price and also lives near the group.

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Regarding the price, the trader gives 5,500 Kip/Kg, the member receives 5,200 Kip/Kg, and the group keeps 300 Kip/Kg for the revolving fund. The fund is used for community work and for credit.

LFN is not only capitalizing this experience, but is actually now helping the group to access markets in Vientiane, the capital city of Laos. The network will support the group to pilot the marketing of 1 ton of shoots to some markets in Vientiane. The price in Vientiane varies from 10,000-15,000 Kip/Kg, three times higher than what villagers are getting now. The process of this piloting will be documented, and the results will be shared in the next couple of months.

The capitalizing activity is funded by AsiaDHRRA while the piloting of the market in Vientiane is funded by LURAS, a Swiss-funded development program.

Lao Farmer Network (LFN) is a member of the Asian Farmers’ Association for Sustainable Rural Development (AFA).

For more information, contact Phoutthasinh Phimachanh (phoutthasinh.phimmachanh@gmail.com)

Vacancy Announcements from APAARI

Two vacancy announcements from APAARI:

Vacancy Announcement for the position of Executive Secretary – APAARI
The Asia-Pacific Association of Agricultural Research Institutions (APAARI) wishes to recruit the vacant position of Executive Secretary and seeks applications/expression of interest from suitably qualified and experienced candidates who are citizens of the countries of the Asia-Pacific region…

Recruitment of Coordinator, Asia-Pacific Consortium on Agricultural Biotechnology (APCoAB)
The Asia-Pacific Association of Agricultural Research Institutions (APAARI) wishes to recruit the vacant position of APCoAB Coordinator to implement the agricultural biotechnology programme of APAARI in collaboration with its member organizations…

(AFA is a regular member of APAARI and sits in the Executive Committee)

Forest and farm producer organizations commit to promote rights and livelihoods of their members, call for support from governments and partner organizations

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Knowledge Exchange Forum on Promoting Rights and Livelihoods through Forest and Farm Producer Organizations Bangkok, Thailand, 7-8-9 December 2016. The information exchange event was organised by the International Family Forestry Alliance (IFFA), the Asian Farmers Association for sustainable rural development (AFA), and was hosted by RECOFTC – The Center for People and Forests. The event took place with support of the Forest & Farm Facility (FFF). Hosted at FAO, the FFF is a global partnership between FAO, IIED, IUCN, and AgriCord that aims to promote sustainable forest and farm management by supporting local, national, regional and international forest and farm producer organisations for improved livelihoods and decision-making over forest and farm landscapes. It was attended by more than 60 participants from 10 countries. Building on the experience of the previous conferences/workshops, this Asia conference was meant to facilitate networking between existing associations and provide them a platform to build their capacity by sharing experiences. Examples from different producer organizations both in a background paper and from presentations at the conference and the field visit were meant to inspire, give visibility to and energize participants and their organizations. It was also be an opportunity to show that local initiatives and organizations are not alone as they could belong to a bigger popular movement.

Strategy From the Knowledge Exchange Forum on Promoting Rights and Livelihoods through Forest and Farm Producer Organisations

Bangkok, Thailand , 7-8-9 December 2016

We the participants of the Forest and Farm Producer Organisation’s Exchange forum at our first Asian meeting 7-9th of December 2016 in Bangkok, Thailand,

RECOGNIZING the key role of forest and farm producers’ organizations and the legal and institutional recognition we need to plant, care, protect and market our family forest and farm products as significantly contributing to the broader sustainable development agenda and directly to most of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

RECOGNIZING the serious Climate Change threat to our lives as well as the great and large scale climate change mitigation and adaptation function our forest and farm producer groups can provide by the interlinkage between trees and food production, recovering the forest/agricultural landscape, promoting eco-system services and improving the livelihoods and sustainable land management through Locally Controlled Forestry and Farming.

RECOGNIZING that secure land tenure (including forest land), freedom of association and legal and institutional recognition of farm/family forest producer organizations, supportive government policies and extension services, and access to markets and finances as indispensable pillars for an enabling environment for the success of forest and farm producer organizations.

CONCERNED that there should be a leveling of the playing field by empowering smallholder organisations so that they can claim their rights and access to markets and at the same time fill the gap between well intentioned political reforms and reality on the ground.

ENCOURAGING the establishment of partnerships between farm and forest producer organizations and government field services and international donors to leverage budgets and staff capacity as a model to be encouraged.

STRESSING the benefit of increased inclusiveness in producer organisations with women, youth, indigenous and other underrepresented groups in our organisations

We commit to the following actions to overcome challenges presented at the Knowledge exchange with our association’s members

– Expand our membership and strengthen our capacities including in the area of data management relating to forests and trees, and thereby achieve respect and legitimacy for our associations

– Ensure the full inclusion of women, youth and indigenous peoples in the forest and farm sector

– Provide a leadership (men and women) with high character values and democratic, transparent and good governance management

– Promote trees as an asset with a broad spectra of forest products including non-timber products and agro forestry practices where appropriate, for increase the capacity to add value to products and services

– Increase collaboration with informal and formal, existing or new networks in the region and global levels

We call our Governments to:

– Recognize the importance of and provide financing for, tree growing and utilisation for sustainable forest and farm management, by smallholders and their producer organisations to enhance rural livelihood and enterprise as well as national economy

– Reduce legal barriers for commercial use by forest and trees by smallholders

– Recognize the legal rights and traditional knowledge of smallholders and strengthen their participation through their producer organisation’s representatives in land, forest and agriculture policy and decision making processes

– Do everything possible to improve land access and to strengthen land tenure legislation that incentivises tree growing and sustainable forest and farm management

– Promote and ensure wide spread education of trees as an asset both in the growing and use of wood from sustainable forests as a prime climate action. See the initiative of Tree Bank in Thailand as a very promising effort to contribute to a restoration of forest cover for the benefit of people as a new source of income and the environment

– Recognize the services provided by the ecological restoration by smallholders and indigenous peoples that requires compensation in national and international processes

– Fairly implement the laws governing natural forest and other protected areas with due consideration of local people

We call our regional and global partner organisations to:

– Strengthen national, regional and international cooperation between forest and farm producer organisations

– Meet again in this Asian regional context in two/three years to make a bench mark of achievements and their relation to SDGs

Click here to download the paper in PDF 

Click here for Tweets from the conference

Related stories:

Value we see in trees: innovation and the exchange of ideas

In the king’s wake

 

AFA crafts 5-year operations plan

In its 7th general assembly held in Hanoi, Vietnam last August 2016, AFA approved a five-year strategic plan which prioritizes 5 agenda: (1) secured rights to lands, waters, forests, pastures and seeds; (2) sustainable and resilient agriculture in farms and forested landscapes; (3) cooperative and enterprise development; (4) women; and, (5) youth empowerment.

Last December 3-4, 2016, the AFA members met to work on the details of the strategic plan through an operational planning.

Through a participatory method, the members worked on each agenda to flesh out what AFA wants to achieve in the next five years and what key activities it will carry out in organizing/networking, capacity building, advocacy, KM/M&E, and resource mobilization.

Present during the meeting were API (Indonesia), PAKISAMA (Philippines), FNN and FWN (Cambodia), LFN (Laos), AFFM (Myanmar), VNFU (Vietnam), NLRF and CTCF (Nepal), NAMAC (Mongolia), UWUA (Kyrgyztan), NADF (Tajikistan), AINOUKAI (Japna) and TWADA (Taiwan).

In the business meeting that followed, the 5 year operations plan and the 2017 annual plan were also approved.

FOs, coops, CSOs, agri agencies hold workshop to strengthen agri coops in Asia

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More than 70 representatives from farmer organizations, cooperatives, civil society organizations and agri-agencies gathered in Sulo Hotel, Quezon City, Philippines on December 1-2 to discuss priorities, strategies and actions for strengthening agricultural cooperatives in Asia.

The workshop was a follow up to the 6th ASEAN Cooperative Business Forum (ACBF) held on November 29-30 in Novotel, Quezon City, Philippines, where government, CSO, farmer and cooperative representatives pledge to support the development and strengthening of agri coops in the region as vehicles for inclusive development.

The event was organized by AFA, PAKISAMA, AsiaDHRRA, We Effect and CSA, with support from OXFAM, AFOSP-MTCP2, EU, IFAD, SDC and FAO’s FFF.

A total of 77 participants from 14 Asian countries and 4 European countries joined the event.

The specific objectives of the workshop were to: 1) appreciate the role of agricultural cooperatives; b) share and learn from successful experiences of managing agri coops; and, c) formulate concrete strategies and an operations plan for strengthening agri cooperatives in Asia in the next five years, with focus on the sub regions (SEA, SAARC).

Participants gathered lessons learned from the experiences of successful agricultural cooperatives in Asia like Ja Zenchu in Japan and NACF in South Korea, NCC in sri Lanka, as well as IFFCO in India and FPSDC and SIDC in the Philippines.

They also reflected on the role of agri coops in achieving SDGS through a presentation from ICA and envisioned possible models and structures for agri coops with input from a draft discussion paper by AFA’s agri coop program officer.

They looked at possibilities for cooperation at the regional level through a presentation from Fair Trade Asia Pacific and AFOSP-MTCP2.

Lastly, participants developed 2016-2020 strategic action plans per sub-region for AFA and non-AFA members.

International and local groups vow to support ASEAN agri coops for inclusive development at 6th ACBF

6th-acbf-declarationQuezon City, Philippines – International and local delegates to the 6th ASEAN Cooperative Business Forum held on November 29-30 at the Novotel in Cubao, Quezon City signed a declaration that commits to promote and advance agricultural cooperatives in the ASEAN region as a vehicle towards attaining inclusive development.

The delegates are representatives of ASEAN Member States, other countries, cooperatives, farmer and fisher organizations, development organizations and civil society organizations championing the eradication of extreme poverty and hunger especially among small farmers, indigenous communities and fisher folks who ironically are the ones who feed the world.

The delegates vowed to strongly advocate sustainable agricultural technologies and promote local industries towards sustainable livelihoods and conservation of natural resources.

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In his speech at the opening of the forum, CDA Chairperson Orlando Ravanera lauded the efforts of the delegates to come together to respond to the challenges of the ASEAN Economic Community, which officially began last year.

“Cooperatives are the cutting edge for a sustainable future. They strongly advocate for sustainability specially on food sovereignty.  Now, we come together to explore intra-trading among the 300,000 agri coops in the ASEAN region,” Ravanera said.

“When you buy the products of cooperatives, you buy the essentials, the healthy and the organic, and in doing so, you generate massive employment and support the livelihood of the poor and the vulnerable,” he added.

The International Labor Organization has recognized cooperatives for their contribution to economic development and generation of more than 100 million jobs worldwide.

The event was organized by the Cooperative Development Authority (CDA) of the Republic of the Philippines, in cooperation with the ASEAN Center for Agricultural Cooperatives (ACEDAC) and the ASEAN Sectoral Working Group on Agricultural Cooperative (ASWGAC), and in partnership with the Asian Farmers’ Association for Sustainable Rural Development (AFA) , Federation of Peoples’ Sustainable Development Cooperative (FPSDC) , Nutriwealth Multipurpose Cooperative, KaPandesal Multipurpose Cooperative, AsiaDHRRA and  We Effect. The event was sponsored by 23 other institutions, including, 16 national cooperatives, international farmers organization La Via Campesina, three international intergovernmenal agencies (IFAD, EU, SDC) and international agri agencies CSA, FFD, Oxfam.

The results of the forum will be presented to ACEDAC and ASWGAC and will serve as inputs to an ASEAN roadmap on agricultural cooperatives that is geared at promoting a more inclusive, sustainable and equitable ASEAN Economic Community.

The 6th ACBF aims to enhance economic collaboration within the ASEAN Economic Community through cooperatives by providing the opportunity for international partners to share their respective countries’ best practices that will give inspiration and expand development options for ASEAN stakeholders.

The forum provides a platform for the different organizations to discuss key challenges and opportunities confronting them in their effort to establish an economic community within the framework of Social Solidarity Economy.

It also gives a venue to showcase the agricultural products and services through a cooperative trade fair exhibit.

A talk show and a press conference were also held during the event.

Click here for the 6th ACBF Declaration

Click here for CNN Philippines’ report

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Gov’t, FOs, CSOs and agri-agencies come together for 6th ASEAN Cooperative Business Forum

15192636_10154570907921421_7895573883762589900_nThe ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) reflects ASEAN’s vision for an inclusive growth. Along this effort, ASEAN commits to “promote agricultural cooperatives as a means to empower and enhance market of agricultural products, to build a network mechanism linking agricultural cooperatives, and to fulfill the purpose of agricultural cooperatives for the benefit of farmers in the region”.

In recognition of the valuable role of cooperatives particularly of the agricultural cooperatives, the Cooperative Development Authority (CDA) of the Republic of the Philippines, in cooperation with the ASEAN Center for Agricultural Cooperative (ACEDAC) and the ASEAN Sectoral Working Group on Agricultural Cooperative (ASWGAC) and in partnership with ASEAN Farmers’ Organization Support Program (AFOSP) implemented by Asian Farmers’ Organization for Sustainable Rural Development (AFA) and La Via Campesina (LVC), together with other regional CSOs and agri-agencies (AsiaDHRRA, CSA and WeEFFECT) and local/national Cooperative partners will host the 6th ASEAN Cooperative Business Forum (ACBF) on November 29 to 30 in Manila, Philippines to provide opportunity for learning exchange and cooperation towards enhancing ASEAN Economic Collaboration through Cooperatives.

The 6th ACBF will bring together various government agencies working on Cooperative Development, Co-op and farmer leaders, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), Development partners and other stakeholders to discuss key challenges as well as opportunities for regional cooperation among Cooperatives towards an inclusive regional integration process within the context of ASEAN Economic Community framework. ACBF also hopes to showcase agricultural products and services through a Co-op Trade Fair Exhibit.

PAKISAMA celebrates 30th anniversary, holds 9th congress

PAKISAMA 9th Congress' Delegates from Mindanao, Visayas and Luzon (c) Nonoy Villas
PAKISAMA 9th Congress’ Delegates from Mindanao, Visayas and Luzon (Photo by Nonoy Villas)

The Pambansang Kilusan ng mga Samahang Magsasaka (PAKISAMA) is celebrating its 30th anniversary and holding its 9th congress on November 21 at the Claret Retreat House in Quezon City, Philippines with the theme “Perlas na mga Karanasan sa Tatlong Dekadang Nakaraan: Kasaysayan, Pakikibaka, Kabuhayan” (“Pearl of Experience through Past Three Decades: Ourstory, Struggle, Livelihood”).

Participating in the event are leaders and partners of PAKISAMA and its member cooperatives, associations, and federations coming from 45 provinces of the country, representing the voices of some 54,000 landless and owner-cultivators, upland farmers, marginal fishers, indigenous peoples, rural women and youth.

The event have 4 main objectives: (1) to celebrate the 30 years of experience recognizing the critical milestones of PAKISAMA; (2) to present past 3-year accomplishments (2013-2015) and to approve the strategic direction of PAKISAMA for the next 6 years (2017-2022); (3) to recognize outstanding members and partners for the past 30 years who contributed to the growth and development PAKISAMA; and (4) to elect a new set of officers that will govern PAKISAMA for the next 3 years.

The celebration includes a film presentation on PAKISAMA’s 30-year history, keynotes speech by Vice President Maria Leonor Gerona Robredo, dinner for a cause, and solidarity night and recognition of outstanding members and partners.

PAKISAMA is a national peasant confederation and movement towards the empowerment of small farmers, fishers, rural women, youth, and indigenous peoples. It envisions a humane, gender-sensitive and environmentally sound rural society where peoples control and own the basic means of production and exchange; critically and actively participate in governance; protect and care for the environment; and live the values of authentic humanism in a Philippine society characterized by justice, freedom, democracy and national sovereignty.

It is an AFA member organization in the Philippines.

Farmer organizations supported by AFOSP-MTCP2 attend KLMPE 2016

15085721_1342456459120132_9033994477495737788_n-1The Asian Farmers’ Association for Sustainable Rural Development (AFA), Pambansang Kilusan ng mga Samahang Magsasaka (PAKISAMA) and other farmer organizations in the Philippines supported by the ASEAN Farmers’ Organizations Support Program (AFOSP) – Medium Term Cooperation Programme with Farmers’ Organisations in Asia and the Pacific, Phase II (MTCP2) attended this year’s Knowledge and Learning Market that has the theme IFF+2: Engaging Development Partners Towards Sustainable Development of Smallholder/Family Farmers held at the Bureau of Soil and Water Management (BSWM) Convention Center of the Department of Agriculture (DA) in Quezon City, Philippines.

The KLMPE 2016 featured an interactive learning exhibit highlighting the various IFAD-funded projects and rural developments in the Philippines, where AFA, PAKISAMA and other AFOSP-MTCP2 FOs displayed their agricultural products and knowledge materials.

There were also product demonstrations such as the one on Sweet Potato Noodles and Pandesal Making by the CIP-FoodStart and Mushroom Production by the Organic Farmers of Macabud, Rizal. Farmer participants are very happy to take advantage of these opportunities to learn new product technologies that could help them find additional source of income.

In his opening remarks, IFAD County Programme Officer Jerry Pacturan, in behalf of the 2016 Knowledge and Learning Market and Policy Engagement (KLMPE) Technical Working Group, warmly welcomed the guests and participants from all over the country to the 2016 KLMPE celebration recognizing them as partners in development. With this year’s theme of “IYFF+2: Engaging development partners toward sustainable development of smallholder/family farmers,” he emphasized that over the last decade, the KLMPE has been “a platform for knowledge sharing and learning for civil society organizations, government and development partners, and a venue for policy engagement with government policy makers and program implementers.”

Frank Roy Ribo of the Kalipunan ng Maliliit na Magniniyog ng Pilippinas (KAMMPIL), representing the AFOSP-MTCP2 FOs and the farmers sector, gave the keynote address.

A stakeholder-based policy engagement , which aimed to promote good practices of family farmers, innovations and initiatives, draw out lessons for policy dialogue-lobby and program development, and to implement and popularize knowledge products on advocating family farmers’ innovation, was staged in the afternoon of the first day.

There were breakout sessions on the themes of (1) sustainable agriculture, food security and nutrition; (2) market empowerment; and (3) resource tenure. Inspiring experiences of successful smallholder farmers and advocates were championed during the policy sessions.

In the session on market empowerment for small holder farmers, successful farmer entrepreneurs shared their experiences in farming enterprises on coffee, coconut, pineapple and fisheries.

To have a grasp of the strategic actions and updates on IYFF+1, Raul Socrates Banzuela of PAKISAMA presented the Progress Updates of IYFF Action Agenda from the FOs/CSOs. He highlighted three (3) updates particularly: 1) active promotion and undertaking of climate-resilient agriculture; 2) enlargement of farmer’s power, and 3) strengthening capacity of agricultural cooperatives.

This was followed by another breakout session on ways forward which resulted in strategic directions for the next five years (2017-2022) with a more strengthened and collaborative support for smallholder/family farmers. Participants were grouped based on the sectors they belong to: farmer organizations, academes, civil service organizations, research institutions and the government.

AFA, PAKISAMA and AFOSP-MTCP2 FOs are members of the KLMPE technical working group. The AFA Secretary General synthesized day 1 and day 2 discussions, while the KM Officer contributed to social media reporting. PAKISAMA brought around 50 farmer participants to the event, while AFOSP-MTCP2 FO representatives took the lead in the breakout group on resource tenure.

The organizers for this year’s KLMPE include: IFAD, DAR, DA, AFA, AsiaDHRRA, AFOSP-MTCP2, PAKISAMA, PhilDHRRA, TRIAS Southeast Asia, and We Effect.

 

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