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.
The forum resulted in the following major outputs:
1. Identification of research projects or studies that can be conducted to respond to major issues and concerns in the three thematic areas;
2. Outline of principles of engagement or code of conduct to guide IFAD’s partnerships and collaboration with FOs in the Asia and the Pacific Region and serve as the basis and framework for establishing the terms of engagement between governments and their development partners with the FOs for the benefit of their member farmers and producers;
3. Identification of specific capability-building needs to be able to effectively address issues and concerns and engage governments;
4. Creation of a National Programme Oversight Board/Steering Committee, which is expected to see through the implementation of action points; and
5. Immediate action points to move forward.
The MTCP is a program being implemented by IFAD and FAO with FOs in Asia and the Pacific Region in ten countries, namely: India, Sri Lanka, and Nepal (in South Asia); Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam, Myanmar, Lao PDR, and Cambodia; (in Southeast Asia); and, China (in East Asia).
The overall goal of the program is to strengthen the capacity of small FOs in the Asia and the Pacific region and their regional and international networks so that they may be able to influence policies affecting their members.
In the Philippines, several activities are being implemented under the MTCP program, namely: mapping of FOs, conduct of national farmers’ forum, conduct of national farmers’ forum steering committee meetings, coordination of national activities, conduct of researches and studies, conduct of institutional profiling of IFAD-FO partners, and strengthening of the involvement of FOs in IFAD country program activities.
LAKAMBINI, the women’s arm of PAKISAMA, was also included in the mapping and was represented in the national forum by two women representatives.
PAKISAMA is a member organization of the Asian Farmers’ Association for Sustainable Rural Development (AFA) in the Philippines.
AFA’s Secretary General helped facilitate the forum, while AFA’s Project Officer did the video coverage.
(The forum outputs, photos, and videos will be uploaded to the AFA website: www.asianfarmers.org)