www.asianfarmers.org

Website of the Asian Farmers Association for Sustainable Rural Development

November 18th, 2013

Official Launch of the Medium Term Cooperation Project – Phase Two (MTCP2)

mtcp2 launch banner (print screen)

MEDIA ADVISORY

Official Launch of the Medium Term Cooperation Project – Phase Two (MTCP2)

INVITATION TO REPRESENTATIVES OF THE MEDIA

When: Saturday, November 23, 2013, 9:00 AM
Where: Amari Watergate Hotel, Bangkok, Thailand
Who: AFA, La Via Campesina, ANFPa, PIFON, IFAD

Farmers’ federations from Asia-Pacific, with support of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), will organize the “MTCP2 Launch and Start-Up Workshop” on Nov 23-24, 2013 in Bangkok, Thailand. The MTCP2 Launch will be held at Amari Watergate Hotel in the morning of Nov 23 while the Start-Up Workshop will be held at First Hotel in the afternoon of Nov 23 and the whole day of Nov 24.

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October 23rd, 2013

Muhammad Rifai, A Young Entrepreneur Farmer Developing Excellent (Ideal) Corn Seeds for Farmers

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October 5th, 2013

CSO side event during the Committee on Food Security meetings in Rome

The Civil Society Mechanism is organizing a side event related to the International Year of Family Farming (IYFF) 2014 during the Committee of Food Security (CFS) meetings, to be held on 7-11 October 2013 at the FAO headquarters in Rome.  CSOs who are in Rome next week are invited to this meaningful event. Click here to download the event flyer

CFS Rome Side Event

September 27th, 2013

Video: Making Markets Work for Small Scale Farmers

marking video frame grab

This video presents cases of different types of engagements of small-scale farmers with private enterprises and examines them using criteria of sustainability and inclusiveness, for the purpose of identifying what farmers and farmers groups, as well as government and other key stakeholders can do to increase farmers’ leverage and power in the market and along the value chains.

September 13th, 2013

GAFSP Set To Reach More Than 10 Million Farmers across 25 Countries

(The following is a press release from the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP). AFA is a support organization to the Asian CSO representative to the GAFSP Steering Committee.)

WASHINGTON, September 11, 2013—Partners in the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP), a multi-donor trust fund established in 2010 to improve food security in the world’s poorest countries, today announced the allocation of $254.5 million in grants to eight countries. The grants will support country-led initiatives to increase agricultural productivity, improve food and nutrition security, and reduce poverty in Burkina Faso, Honduras, Kyrgyz Republic, Mali, Nicaragua, Uganda, Yemen, and Zambia.

International food prices have spiked three times in the last five years. With the outlook for future food pries uncertain, GAFSP seeks to improve food security and reduce poverty by delivering targeted financing for the agriculture sector in low-income countries. It takes up where emergency and recovery assistance leaves off, targeting transformative and lasting long-term development
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September 7th, 2013

Missing the story on Golden Rice

The following is a blog from the Institute of Agriculture and Trade Policy arguing that mainstream media has missed the central issue of power in its reports on the opposition to genetically engineered Golden Rice in the Philippines. It makes a strong case that the issue is about “Who controls the technology? Who controls what farmers can grow, and what people eat?”,  which are also questions at the heart of the issue of addressing global hunger.

In the wake of protests in the Philippines over genetically engineered Golden Rice, a series of articles have appeared in the U.S. mainstream press (e.g., the New York Times) and alternative publications like Slate and Grist, all coming to the vigorous defense of the latest incarnation of this wonder rice designed to prevent malnutrition. Through veiled and at times explicit condescension, the U.S. media consensus seems to be that opposition to this wonder rice is based on scientific ignorance: Why wouldn’t you want to address global malnutrition?

A gaping hole in U.S. coverage is the perspectives of Philippine farm organizations, like the Asian Farmers Association affiliate PAKISAMA, or really anyone from the Philippines who opposes Golden Rice. By not including these voices, these reports miss a fundamental issue at the center of all issues around genetically engineered (GE) foods: power. Who controls the technology? Who controls what farmers can grow, and what people eat? Not coincidently, these questions are also at the center of addressing global hunger.

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September 5th, 2013

Issue Paper on Small-Scale Farmers’ Engagement with Private Enterprises (Now available for download)

Small-Scale Farmers’ Engagement with Private Enterprises: Towards Farmer-Owned or Farmer-Led Sustainable and Inclusive Arrangements

AFA Issue Paper, Vol. 5, No. 1, June 2013

“In Cambodia, Thida is happy. Her organization, Farmer and Nature Net (FNN), encouraged her to start raising organic pigs to sell to the market. A partner NGO, the Cambodian Center for Study and Development in Agriculture (CEDAC), gave her the necessary training on how to raise pigs the organic and healthy way. Now, she no longer needs to go to town to buy expensive feeds because she can source and make these from the various plants and materials around her. CEDAC is also helping her and other farmers sell their products to the market. This helped her increase her income as she no longer had to sell her products to traders at a low price. Moreover, consumers are willing to pay better prices for organic produce.

“The experiences of this woman farmer underscore the potential benefits of properly organized and managed farmer-owned enterprises or of well-regulated, sustainable and inclusive business and marketing arrangements between farmers and other private enterprises.”

This issue paper looks at, among others, the different types of engagements of small-scale farmers with private enterprises; the trends, challenges, and benefits associated with setting up farmer-owned or farmer-led enterprises; the criteria for sustainable and inclusive arrangements between farmers and the private sector; and what farmers and farmers groups, as well as government and other key stakeholders should do to increase their leverage and power in the market and along the value chains.

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September 3rd, 2013

GM crops are no solution to malnutrition!

The following is a statement by different groups in Asia supporting the action of farmers against Golden Rice experimentation in the Philippines. AFA joins farmers in the Philippines and in Asia in their fight against GMOs. Its member in the Philippines, PAKISAMA, is a member of the NO2GMO coalition. In Indonesia, its member API is also strongly against GMOs. In Japan, its member AINOUKAI also expresses full support to the farmers in their fight against GMOs.

PRESS RELEASE
August 29, 2013

On August 8, 2013 more than 400 farmers, church people, students, academics and consumers uprooted a field trial of genetically modified (GM) rice that was nearly ready for harvest in Pili, Camarines Sur, Philippines. This courageous action undertaken by the Peasant Movement of Bicol and the Sikwal-GMO alliance was necessary to prevent the contamination of Asia’s most important food crop by GMOs.

 

Field trials of Golden Rice, one in Pili and three in other areas of the Philippines, are part of an agenda to push forward the acceptance of GMOs. Golden Rice is being developed by a ‘public-private partnership’ led by Syngenta, one of the world’s largest pesticide and seed corporations and the owner of the patent rights involved, and the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI). There is also a Golden Rice Network spread out in countries like India, Bangladesh, China, Vietnam and Indonesia.

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August 13th, 2013

AFA and Agriterra organize FACT workshop and ToT in the Philippines

DSC07409 bQuezon City, Philippines — The Asian Farmers’ Association for Sustainable Rural Development (AFA) and Agriterra, an agri-agency supporting farmer organizations worldwide, held the “Farmers Advocacy Consultation Tool (FACT) Preparatory Workshop and Training of Trainers” last July 22-27, 2013 at the University Hotel in UP Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines

FACT is a methodology for an organization to prepare good proposals (policy positions and proposals, programs, strategic plans, projects, etc.) based on consultations with its membership and the advice of experts (academics, consultants, etc.), that allows it to have a good understanding of the relevant issues and to show that the proposals are based on real needs.

It rests on four pillars such as, consultations with membership (well-documented and registered membership consultations), participatory research (in order to systematize the results and combine with desk research to substantiate the proposals), writing SMART proposals (elaboration of technically well-prepared positions or proposals), and lobby mapping and stakeholders analysis (for a successful lobby/advocacy and negotiation of proposals).

The preparatory workshop on July 22-25 was attended by leaders and staff from farmer organizations (PAKISAMA, FFF, PDCI, PASAKA, AFA), NGOs (PhilDHRRA) and agri-agencies (Trias SEA, AsiaDHRRA).

The workshop helped define which FACT concepts can be useful to be inserted or adapted to the usual work of farmer organizations and is to be followed by a period of ‘learning by doing’ in which each organization will test these selected concepts in their work.

The training of trainers on July 26-27, on the other hand, was attended by selected participants from the preparatory workshop, as well as representatives from farmer organizations in Nepal (CTCF, NEFSCUN ) and Moldova (NFFM) who have already undergone the preparatory workshop.

Nellie van der Pasch of Agriterra and Mirjam Ssenyonga of Trias Uganda facilitated both the preparatory workshop and the training of trainers.

The preparatory workshop (as well as the training of trainers) is the first part in the “FACT trajectory,” which also consists of actual practice of the FACT approach and presentation and analysis of the results of implementation.

The FACT trajectory is being rolled out by Agriterra for farmer organizations in different countries Asia in cooperation with AFA.

July 1st, 2013

API holds agroecology training in Indonesia in collaboration with TWN

agroecology training 01By Ika Krishnayanti

The current challenges and trends in food security and climate change are great, and agroecology is increasingly recognized as the way forward. Agroecology, which uses ecological concepts and principles for the design and management of sustainable agricultural systems, has consistently proven capable of sustainably increasing productivity, and has far greater potential for fighting hunger, particularly during economic and climatically uncertain times.

Recognizing the urgent need for capacity building on agroecology in the sub-region, The Third World Network (TWN) and Aliansi Petani Indonesia (API, an AFA member) organized the Training Course to equip key actors with a comprehensive undertanding of agroecology, its principlesand concepts, and the evidence base. The training took place in Solo, Central Java on June 5-9, 2013.The resource persons were Prof. Miguel Altieri and Dr. Clara Nicholls from the Univerisity of California, Berkeley, USA. Both are recognized pioneers and experts in agroecology, and have published widely on the subject.

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June 28th, 2013

International Course on Mainstreaming Gender in Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation

There is a growing recognition and consensus that there is causal relationship between climate change and gender. Gender inequalities exist in access to valuable resources such as land, credit, technology and extension and training services that would have an impact on men’s and women’s capacity to adapt. Climate change tends to magnify gender inequality, and gender inequality can exacerbate the adverse impacts of climate change particularly on women and girls.

The course will focus on building capacities in integrating gender concepts and methodologies in developing programs for climate change adaptation. The course will also help understand the existing problems and concerns of men and women in the community as a result of climate change. It will also introduce to the participants practical tools they can use to mainstream gender in climate change adaptation. The course will also help program and projects to identify interventions for climate change adaptation.

The 10-day course will be held at IIRR’s Y.C. James Yen Center in Cavite, Philippines from September 17 -26, 2013. Deadline for application is August 16, 2013. This course will be conducted jointly by IIRR,  Gender Works and AFA.

Click here to download the training brochure

June 28th, 2013

PRESS RELEASE of NO GMOs! (Network Opposed to Genetically Modified Organisms!)

(PAKISAMA, an AFA member in the Philippines, is a member of NO2GMOs.)

Contact person:
Nina Somera, Third World Network
+63 9177014286
nina@twnetwork.org
ninasomera.twn@gmail.com

International anti-GMO advocate Jeffrey Smith arriving in Manila, urges PH to label GMO products

GMO labeling advocate Jeffrey Smith joins his Filipino counterparts in urging the Philippine government to require the labeling of products containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs). As of February 2013, the Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Plant Industry (DA-BPI) has so far approved the entry of about 70 GMO products for food, feed and processing as well as for propagation into the local market, without any information to consumers that these have GMO contents.

“The Philippines FDA was being overly optimistic when they claimed that the GMOs on the market meet the FAO/WHO safety assessment criteria. In fact, the Bt-corn, Roundup Ready soy, and GM papaya all fail their criteria. Furthermore, companies refuse to use the FAO/WHO safety testing guidelines, choosing instead research protocols that are far less capable of finding health problems.” Smith points out. Earlier this week, the country’s Food and Drug Administration issued an advisory declaring GMO food products safe. Read the rest of this entry »

June 26th, 2013

AFA participates in a panel session during WEF-East Asia meeting in Myanmar

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[World Economic Forum on East Asia, Nay Pyi Taw, 5-7 June 2013. (C) World Economic Forum]

June 6, Nay Pwi Taw, Myanmar – The World Economic Forum (WEF) conducted its 22nd forum in East Asia last June 5-7 in Nay Pwi Taw, capital city of Myanmar, with the theme “Courageous Transformation for Inclusion and Integration”. Around 900 participants from business sector, government and civil society attended the conference.

AFA Secretary General Ma. Estrella Penunia joined a parallel session held June 6, entitled “Building Food Security,” as a panelist together with Rusman Heriawan, Vice Minister of Agriculture of Indonesia, U Ohn Than, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Irrigation of Myanmar, Rajeev Vaidya, DuPont’s President for South Asia and ASEAN, Franky Oesman Widjaja, Chairman and CEO of Sinar Mas Agribusiness & Food, Indonesia, and Debbie Taylor, co-founder of Proximity Designs in Myanmar. The session was moderated by Jamil Anderlini, Beijing Bureau Chief of Financial Times, and had as rapporteur Dang Kim Son , Director General of the Institute of Policy and Strategy for Agriculture and Rural Development (IPSARD) of Vietnam. The session was organized by the team from the New Vision for Agriculture, a WEF initiative led by 29 global companies.

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June 19th, 2013

AFA joins PAKISAMA and FAO-Bangladesh in hosting farmer-to-farmer study tour in Philippines

bangladesh study tour field shot

“I learned the importance of business planning, youth formation, and good relationships with the local government. I will develop a business plan for marketing for our primary alliance. I will also request our central leaders to develop a network among youth. I will also develop a plan to improve our organization’s communication and relations with the local government and to resolve problems in our organization.” (Marjina, Treasurer, Mithaganj Krishak Moitree)

“I have learned a lot about how the local farmer organizations in the Philippines utilized their local resources. I will share my learnings with my association in Bangladesh. We will organize more farmers marketing groups.” (Md. Bablur Rashid, President, Bangladesh Farmers Marketing Group Association)

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June 19th, 2013

SBSTA: Parties agree to focus on adaptation in agriculture outcome

(The following is an update from Third World Network on the Bonn Climate Change Conference held on June 3-14, 2013. For more updates, go to: http://www.twn.my/title2/climate/bonn.news.11.htm )

Bar Harbor, USA, 18 June (Doreen Stabinsky and Azeb Girmai) – After an inconclusive late-night session on 13 June, negotiations on agriculture at the 38th session of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) ended Friday 14 June with a short set of chairs’ conclusions focused on adaptation.

Parties agreed on a submission process, followed by a workshop to be held at SBSTA 39, on “the current state of scientific knowledge on how to enhance the adaptation of agriculture to climate change impacts while promoting rural development, sustainable development and productivity of agricultural systems and food security in all countries, particularly in developing countries. This should take into account the diversity of the agricultural systems and the differences in scale as well as possible adaptation co-benefits.” Parties will consider the report of the workshop at SBSTA 40 (2014).

The negotiations on agriculture during the Bonn session took place in a contact group chaired by Ester Magambo (Kenya) and Hans Ake Nilsagard (Sweden). The chairs’ conclusions were subsequently adopted by the final SBSTA 38 plenary on 14 June.

The contact group opened on 6 June, with Co-chair Magambo noting that discussions were continuing in what would be a long-term process.

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June 14th, 2013

AFA joins Southeast Asia land hearing advisory group

In a meeting last June 11, 2013 at the Partnership Center in Quezon City, Philippines, AFA represented by Maria Elena Rebagay, agreed to join ANGOC, OXFAM and other regional and national groups in the Southeast Asia Regional land hearing advisory group tasked to provide advisory support in the conduct of regional land hearing. The group aims to:

1) Provide an overview of the facilitating and constraining factors on the entry of agricultural and land investments in the communities in different Southeast Asian contexts;
2) Assess the negotiation terms and processes to see if they are transparent, inclusive and participative, and if they conform to the prevailing legal/regulatory policies and standards (both national and international);
3) Analyze current and potential impacts of these investments on the communities in relation to land tenure, livelihood, basic services, food security and the environment, and develop community safeguards based on the people’s perspectives;
4) Recommend appropriate actions, whether by reforming policy or accountability mechanisms and structures, to address the flaws and gaps in regulation and in the negotiation terms and processes and identified (potential) impacts at community, national and international levels.

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June 13th, 2013

AFA video on land investments shown at ADB brown bag session on VG and RAI

IMG_0005An AFA video featuring case studies on land investments in the Philippines and Cambodia was shown last June 10, 2013 at ADB West Core Resource Center at the opening session of the ADB brown bag session on the voluntary guideline on the responsible governance of tenure of land, fisheries and forestry in the context of national food security (VG) and the responsible agricultural investment (RAI).

AFA Policy Advocacy Officer Lany Rebagay summarized the video presentation and emphasized the negative impact of irresponsible land-based investments which lead to the displacement of smallholder farmers, loss of biodiversity due to the introduction of unsustainable package of production and processing technologies including the unequal sharing of risks and benefit caused by unbalanced negotiation in the contracting process. AFA also stressed that small-scale farmers can effectively contribute to food security and poverty reduction if they are given security over their rights to productive resources like land, water and seeds.

Click here to watch the video

Click here for Lany’s powerpoint presentation

Click here for the program

June 12th, 2013

AFA participates in 2nd ASEAN rice trade forum

ASEAN rice trade forum 02

Represented by its Policy Advocacy Officer Maria Elena Rebagay, AFA attended the second ASEAN Rice Trade Forum convened by the ASEAN Food Security Reserve Board (AFSRB) and the ASEAN Secretariat last June 4-5, 21013 in Jakarta, Indonesia.

ADB, through the Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction, provided the support to the forum, which had the theme “Rice Self-Sufficiency and Trade.”
Other participants to the forum were around 70 officials, as well as representatives from AFSRB, state trading enterprises, academe, bilateral and multilateral organizations, civil society, and the private sector.

AFA affirmed the position of various ASEAN member states, particularly the rice importing countries (Indonesia and Philippines), on the importance of pursuing rice self-sufficiency while keeping rice trade only as a fall back option to bridge the unmet gap in rice production.

AFA stressed that self-sufficiency can be enhanced through agricultural investments that improve productivity and competitiveness through significant support to sustainable farming practices that increase productivity while maintaining biodiversity.

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June 11th, 2013

AFA participates in Agricord’s 11th general assembly

Kehitysyhteistyö

AFA’s Chairperson Uon Sophal, together with FNN Executive Director Pan Sopheap, attended the 11th general assembly of Agricord held last May 30-31, 2013 in Helsinki, Finland. AgriCord is the network of “agri-agencies”, non-governmental organisations for development cooperation with structural links to the farmers’ and rural members’ organisations in their home countries. It provides support to farmers’ organisations in developing countries, covering both capacity building and concrete operations.

The general assembly discussed statutory matters and accepted FFD (Finnish agri-agency for Food and Forestry Development) as a new member of AgriCord, bringing the total number of member agri-agencies to ten, which are backed by farmers organizations in Europe (Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and Sweden), in Canada (Quebec), in Asia (seven countries) and in Africa (Senegal).

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June 7th, 2013

FAO participates in the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues

The following is an article related to the International Year of Family Farming (IYFF). AFA  is collaborating with the World Rural Forum (WRF) for the IYFF campaign in Asia. For more information, visit the IYFF website.

The International Year of Family Farming and the Voluntary Guidelines on the Governance of Tenure an opportunity for indigenous peoples’ engagement

A side event at the 12th Session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues in New York brought together a panel of FAO experts, indigenous peoples leaders from Asia and Latin America and the Government of Philippines. The panellists presented the critical linkages between the Voluntary Guidelines on tenure, and how inclusive tenure of land, fisheries and forests is at the core of family farming. Quoting Victoria Tauli-Corpuz from the Asian Indigenous Caucus” Indigenous peoples have been doing family farming for millennia, for generations. Indeed whether through communal or family management of the natural resources, family farming is the predominant form of agriculture for sustainable food production practiced by indigenous peoples”.

The event increased awareness on the importance of the Voluntary Guidelines and its significance for indigenous peoples. Andrea Carmen from the International Indian Treaty Council, explained how indigenous peoples actively participated during the formulation. “Indigenous peoples demands and aspirations were incorporated into the voluntary guidelines, reflecting the importance of guaranteeing tenure rights for indigenous peoples, the tenants of traditional knowledge and cultural practices; in harmony with nature and the rights to Free Prior and Informed Consent in accordance with the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

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