Website of the Asian Farmers Association for Sustainable Rural Development

April 30th, 2013

AFA attends seminar on climate services for farmers

In order to adapt effectively and help mitigate climate change, farmers need climate information and services.

The WMO and WFO organized a seminar on climate services in Niigata Japan last April 14.

AFA attended the meeting through its KM Officer in order to learn more about climate services and its relevance to farmers.

During the seminar, AFA was able to share some of its initiatives on climate adaptation and the climate information and services that its members need.

Robert Carlson of WFO welcomed everyone to the seminar and highlighted the importance of climate services for farmers. He emphasized the farming is not public service but is a business that farmers engage in for their families and their livelihoods.

Robert Stefanski presented WMO’s agrometeorological services and the importance of climate forecasting for farmers.

WMO produced a draft publication called Climate Easy in order to disseminate information on climate change impact on agriculture and the different adaptation and mitigation efforts that can be undertaken by farmers.

During the workshop, an exercise on agricultural decision making using a computerized system of risk assessment and climate forecasting was done.

It helped participants appreciate the importance of good quality climate information, which always affects farm level decisions.

Peter Prins of LTO Netherlands presented their climate project in Cambodia and Uganda, which underscore the importance of making climate information accessible and useful to farmers.

Sok Sotha of CFAP and a representative from Uganda shared the results of their projects.

The feedback gathered from participants will be used to further improve WMO’s climate information and services for farmers.

April 25th, 2013

New set of PAKISAMA leaders meet for orientation seminar-workshop

Image 14AFA gives international situationer

Tagaytay City, Philippines, April 13, 2013 – Fourteen farmers, five of them women, all members of the National Council (NC) of PAKISAMA (National Confederation of Farmers Organizations), AFA member in the Philippines, together with its national secretariat and regional coordinators, started today a four day orientation workshop in Tagaytay City, aimed to level-off on basic tenets of the organization, roles and functions of each governing and management structure, and to set directions of the organization for the next three years.

The first day of the orientation was spent on getting to know each other better, clarifying expectations between and among different levels of organization(e.g. secretariat, officers, council members) through a team-building exercise (e.g. secretariat, officers, council members), reviewing the core principes of authentic humanism and active non-violence, and levelling off on international and national situation of farmers, agriculture and sustainable development general. AFA Secretary General Esther Penunia gave inputs on the engagement of AFA in international policy advocacy work and Pakisama’s current involvement in it, especially in advocacy for land rights, sustainable agriculture and farmers’ market power, particularly in GAFSP, MTCP and in the celebration of the International Year of Family Farming in 2014.

Image 15The new set of NC leaders were elected during its 8th national congress, held last Feb 20-22, 2013 in Quezon City. Like in previous Congresses, the NC leaders were elected by each island region (Luzon, Visayas, Mindanao), each region having five slots, with one slot given to a woman and another slot to a fisher. But unlike in previous Congresses, the President , Vice President and the committee heads are now elected from among the NC members. Elected for a three year term were Benedicto “Benny” Aquillo as Chairperson and Ireneo “Rene” Cerilla as President.

The last Congress also celebrated Pakisama’s 26th year, where it gave plaques of appreciation to organizations and individuals who have supported it from its founding years. AFA received one for its contribution to PAKISAMA’s international work.

April 22nd, 2013

GAFSP CSO Asia alternate representative speech at the WB Annual Spring Meetings

(The following is a speech delivered by GAFSP CSO Asia alternate representative Raul Socrates Banzuela during a session on Global Agriculture Food Security Program held at Rm c1-100 World Bank Complex, Main Building, Washington DC last April 19. The session was one of the 60 sessions being held, mostly initiated by CSOs, on the occasion of the Bank’s Annual Spring Meetings. AFA is the support organization for the GAFSP CSO Asia representative.)

Good afternoon friends and colleagues. I take this session as an opportunity to dialogue with our northern CSO counterparts and to our friends in IFC and WB Coordination Unit.

I am Soc Banzuela, national coordinator of PAKISAMA, a national confederation of peasant organizations in the Philippines.  We are a member of Asian Farmers Association (AFA), an Asian Confederation of 12 national farmers federations in ten countries in three regions of Asia, providing Secretariat services to the Asian CSO representative to  the GAFSP Steering Committee, Dr. Saing Yang Koma.  I sit as his Alternate and have attended four Steering Committee meetings, with two other CSO representatives one representing African farmers, ROPPA, and the other the Northern NGOs, Action Aid.  I have conducted two missions in Bangladesh, three missions in Nepal, two missions in Mongolia, and one mission in Cambodia over the past two and a half years. Most of the projects funded by GAFSP in 14 countries, six of them are in Asia and the other eight are in Africa,  are still in the start up stage and Bangladesh, one of the early grantees has just recruited and deployed its 700 project personnel to help enhance the production and income of some 350,000 farmers located in two regions.  Thus, we cannot show you much yet in terms of outcomes.

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April 18th, 2013

AFA, AA-B, KKM co-organize first dialogue on GAFSP-Bangladesh public and private sector window projects

Image 9

Dhaka, Bangladesh – The Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP), a multi-lateral funding mechanism, approved funding for the government’s Integrated Agriculture and Food Security Project (IAPP) last June 2010 for an amount of $50M through its public sector window, aimed to increase agriculture production through technology generation, adoption and water management. The IAPP began implementation in early 2012.

In March 2012, the GAFSP likewise approved a loan to Natore Agro, a subsidiary of PRAN, a big agro-processing company in Bangladesh, for an amount of $5M, through its private sector window, managed by the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank group. The loan was part of the total $15M loan to the said company, provided by IFC to “expand production capacity, create 1,800 rural jobs and integrate small farmers into retail supply chains.”

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April 15th, 2013

Madrid high level consultation participants want to end hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition by 2025

[High-Level Consultation on Hunger, Food Security and Nutrition in the Post-2015 Development Agenda. April 4, 2013. Madrid, Spain. (C) IISD.]

“When I was born, four out of five Koreans lived in rural areas, but very few of them actually owned the land they farmed. Most were very poor, and many experienced hunger. The war years, of course, were especially dire. The United Nations helped come to the rescue, not just militarily but with sacks of grain and other forms of sustenance. When small farmers finally gained access to land and inputs, they were able to move beyond subsistence and contribute to the country’s progress. Today, the Republic of Korea is ranked 12th on the Human Development Index. There is a message for the world in Korea’s achievement: Hunger and malnutrition can be eliminated. With the right policies and investments, we can make dramatic progress in one generation – not in some distant future but in our own lifetimes.”

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April 11th, 2013

Overdue reforms to food aid a welcome change in new Presidential budget

(While this is a news about USA, AFA shares the hopes of its partner NGO , IATP, regarding the positive impact that the new US food aid policy can bring to the farmers in developing countries in Asia.)

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Obama administration’s fiscal year 2014 budget, released today, includes long-overdue changes to the way the U.S. distributes its food aid around the world. These changes will make aid more efficient—up to doubling the bang for each dollar spent—and they will help build local capacity in developing countries, creating markets for local farmers who in turn will help their countries cope with an increasingly volatile international food supply.

For nearly 60 years, U.S. food aid has relied on buying food from American farmers through U.S. corporations to send abroad on U.S.-owned ships. President Obama proposes shifting food aid to programs that also support local and regional procurement of food aid.

“For too long, we’ve been sold the idea that U.S. farmers must feed the world. Instead, to build real food security, we need farmers everywhere, whether in Kansas or Kenya, to be able to feed their own communities and nations. Strengthening that capacity through our food security and trade policies should be the priority,” says Karen Hansen-Kuhn of the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP). “Food aid is the last safety net when all else fails, so it is imperative that funding levels don’t fall, but making it faster, more flexible, more efficient and building a tool to build local markets is a common-sense solution.”

Read more

March 18th, 2013

News Summary: Activists call on Cambodian government to address rising land insecurity

Opaque private sector deals, increasing demand for land, insufficient consultations and impact assessments, and alleged complicity of powerful interests in land grabs, among others, have contributed to continuing land insecurity in Cambodia. This, in turn, has led to wide-spread forced evictions and land-grabbing among poor farmers, as activists call for transparency in economic land concessions and resolution of land disputes, while government promises a moratorium on new ELCs, a review of existing ones, and a nationwide titling program.

IRIN/Phnom Penh, “Land rights have key role in Cambodia”, Gulf Times, March 16, 2013

March 7th, 2013

AFA celebrates International Women’s Day

AFA IWD 2013


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March 7th, 2013

Campaign against Golden Rice and other GMOs in the Philippines


The Asian Farmers’ Association for Sustainable Rural Development (AFA) joins the South East Asia Regional Initiatives for Community Empowerment (SEARICE) and other network partners in the campaign against the commercialization of Golden Rice, as well as other GMOs, in the Philippines.

In line with its desire to achieve rice self-sufficiency for the country, the Philippine government has declared 2013 as the National Year of Rice. While this may be good on the surface, it is quite alarming that part of the efforts to achieve rice self-sufficiency involves the commercialization of Golden Rice, a genetically modified rice variety that is said to be vitamin A-enriched.

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March 6th, 2013

Farmers’ bargaining power needed for more inclusive agricultural investments

[“Making agricultural investments more inclusive: building a framework for action”. February 28, 2013. London. International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED).]

To make agricultural investments more inclusive, farmers’ organization should be engaged to ensure the bargaining power of the smallholder producers.

This was one of the main points emphasized by AFA in a recent roundtable discussion organized by the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) last February 28, 2013 in London.

In the meeting entitled “Making agricultural investments more inclusive: building a framework for action,” AFA Policy Advocacy Officer Lany Rebagay said that small-scale farmers could have greater bargaining power if they deal with investors on a collective approach rather than on individual basis

AFA joined the first panel to articulate the perspective of small-scale women and men farmers on important elements that a prospective investor should include in their community engagement and on concerns related to embedding inclusiveness in contracts specifically on important elements that should be included in an investment contract that will ensure inclusion of smallholder producers.

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March 6th, 2013

CSOs prepare for global celebration of IYFF in 2014

[Meeting of the World Consultative Committee for the International Year of Family Farming 2014. January 29-30, 2013. Rome, Italy. Copyright: WRF]

The World Consultative Committee (WCC) for the International Year of Family Farming (IYFF) 2014 met last January 29-30, 2013 in Rome, Italy to strategize for a meaningful celebration of the UN-declared year of family farming in 2014. The meeting was attended by 27 individuals representing 14 member organizations in the continents of Africa, Asia, Europe, Americas, and Oceania. AFA was represented by Mr. Socrates Banzuela, National Coordinator of PAKISAMA, its member in the Philippines. The meeting was organized by World Rural Forum (WRF), the NGO who has coordinated the campaign of an IYFF since 2006.

During the meeting, the WCC members agreed that (1) the year belongs to everybody, and that IYFF-2014 is an opportunity to work towards common goals while recognizing and appreciating diversity; (2) farmers organizations will lead the IYFF-2014 and will lead the WCC; (3) national level is the key level of action; (4) all interested organizations will be invited to participate in national level committees and actions.

The WCC is the civil society process for IYFF while another process is being undertaken by FAO, which was mandated by the UN to take charge of the celebration of the family farming year. A meeting took place between WCC members and FAO and IFAD to discuss ways of working together. The WCC will be in charge of ensuring that there are activities related to IYFF-2014 at global level, while regional organizations in WCC will lead and ensure the existence of regional and national level initiatives.

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February 21st, 2013

API, AFA participate in high level policy dialogue on tech transfer for smallholders

Ms. Ika Krishnayanti (left), API International Relations Officer, emphasizes that farmers should also be recognized as researchers during the policy dialogue on technology transfer for smallholders in Bogor, Indonesia last February 13, 2013 organized by CAPSA. Credit: SATNET Blog.

Representing both API and AFA, Ms. Ika Krishnayanti, International Relations Officer of API, participated in the high level policy dialogue “Technology Transfer for Smallholder Farmers” organized by the Centre for Alleviation of Poverty through Sustainable Agriculture  (CAPSA) in collaboration with the European Union (EU) and the Government of Indonesia last February 13, 2013 in Bogor, Indonesia.

The dialogue aimed to stimulate “discussion among senior officials from agricultural ministries, national agricultural research centres and non-governmental organizations from the Asia-Pacific Region in order to provide options for policymakers to facilitate and enhance the transfer of sustainable agricultural technologies to smallholder farmers and support investments that improve food security, reduce poverty and preserve the environment.”

During the policy dialogue, Ms. Krishnayanti joined other panelists in a moderated discussion addressing the question, “How can advances in science and research better reach smallholders to promote sustainable agriculture?”

She emphasized the “farmers should be recognized as researchers, and not only seen as scientific findings recipients” as she introduced “Ms. Maria Loreta, member of API’s National Board of Peasants and Head of API’s Peasant Women Committee, who recently received an award for her conservation of local species as well as supporting successful rice adaptation made by farmers in East Java to suit saline soil conditions.”

For reports and photos, visit the SATNET Blog at http://satnetasia.blogspot.com/

For the papers and presentations, visit the SATNET Asia website at http://www.satnetasia.org/public/presentation.html

(Reports and photos taken from SATNET Blog)

February 10th, 2013

Happy Lunar New Year!


February 7th, 2013

TWADA Deputy Director visits AFA office

Dr. Wenchi Huang, Deputy Director of the Taiwan Wax Apple Development Association (TWADA), an AFA member in Taiwan, visited the AFA office in Quezon City, Philippines last January 25, 2013.

She was in the country to attend a Board meeting in AsiaDHRRA, a regional network of rural development NGOs in Asia, where she also sits as Chairperson.

Dr. Huang has been actively supporting TWADA in their production and marketing initiatives through the National Pingtung University of Science and Technology (NPUST), which has an ongoing partnership cooperation with the farmers’ association.

She has also attended various AFA meetings and has represented AFA in some conferences related to marketing and agribusiness.

February 4th, 2013

AFA promotes IYFF at PMAC

prince mahidol conference 2013Bangkok, Thailand – AFA promoted the International Year of Family Farming during a global panel discussing health and food security at the Prince Mahidol Award Conference (PMAC) 2013 Main Conference held at Centara Grand and Bangkok Convention Center at Central World on January 31-February 2, 2013.

PMAC is an annual conference attended by a wide-range of experts and development players focusing on issues in public health. This year’s theme is “A world united against infectious disease: cross-sectoral solutions.”

The event was attended by around 1,000 participants from across the globe.

AFA joined the panel “Contribution of the One Health Paradigm to Food Security” moderated by Dr. David Nabarro, UN Senior Coordinator for Avian and Pandemic Influenza and Special Representative on Food Security and Nutrition.

Ms. Lany V. Rebagay, Policy Adovacy Officer of AFA, spoke about the role of small-scale farming in ensuring health, nutrition and food security. She said that “small-scale farmers feed the world and care for the earth.”

This is also the theme of the International Year of Family Farming (IYFF), which the UN declared after a worldwide campaign by a broad range of CSOs anchored by the World Rural Forum (WRF) and actively participated in by AFA.

She pointed out that in the discussion of One Health paradigm, a multi-sectoral collaboration to address health concerns integrating human-animal-environment dimension, participation of small-scale farmers is crucial.

She also asserted that small-scale women and men farmers feed 70% of the world’s population while ensuring environmental sustainability through agro-ecological farming systems that also ensure a diverse source of micronutrients that support sustainable diet.

Click here for more information about the panel


January 30th, 2013

AFA asserts women farmers’ representation in nutrition and food security mechanisms and processes

Participants to the ASEAN High Level Consultative Meeting on “Integrating Nutrition in ASEAN Integrated Framework on Food Security and its Strategic Plan of Action for Food Security,” jointly organized by the ASEAN Secretariat and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), January 29-30, 2013, Bangkok, Thailand. © AFA

Bangkok, Thailand — AFA, through its policy advocacy officer Ma. Elena Rebagay, is participating in the ASEAN High Level Consultative Meeting on “Integrating Nutrition in ASEAN Integrated Framework on Food Security and its Strategic Plan of Action for Food Security.” The meeting is jointly organized by the ASEAN Secretariat and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) on January 29-30, 2013 in Bangkok, Thailand.

The overall goal of this consultation is to provide an opportunity for participants to increase their understanding of agriculture’s role in improving nutrition and intensify dialogue and mutual understanding of each sector’s role in integrating nutrition into the ASEAN Integrated Food Security (AIFS) framework and its processes. Specifically, the meeting hopes to:

  • Identify common issues of concern, gaps and needs to address food security and nutrition and to raise awareness among participants on particular value and the contribution of agriculture in improving nutrition;
  • Increase understanding on the harmonization of policy, institutional mechanism and governance for improved food security and nutrition; and,
  • Integrate best practices and approaches for improving nutrition into the AIFS framework and its processes;

During the consultation, AFA asserted the significant role of women farmers as the frontline players in ensuring nutrition and food security at the household level. Women farmers, as producers, mothers and consumers, are in the best position to articulate the gaps as well as solutions to issues and problems related to nutrition and food security. AFA also affirmed the common sentiment among stakeholders that nutrition and food security cannot be addressed by one agency alone, but should be a multi-stakeholder coordinating mechanism that would ensure the integration and harmonization of various initiatives on nutrition and food security. In line with this, AFA called for institutionalized and meaningful participation of farmers’ organizations representing the concerns of women farmers in various coordination mechanisms and other bodies that look into the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation programs and policies on nutrition and food security at the local, national, regional and global levels.

January 21st, 2013

API sets up relief center in Jakarta, seeks support for flood victims

The office of Aliansi Petani Indonesia (API) is in evacuation mode after the heavy flooding caused by unusually strong monsoon rains in Jakarta last week. API’s office is located at the banks of Ciliwung River, one of Jakarta’s thirteen rivers. They have moved their office equipment and documents to the second floor after flood waters rose last January 16. Around 18,000 people have been evacuated and 11 have died due to the floods. In API’s area, there are around 300 households that were affected.

In response to the flooding, API, together with other people’s organizations in Jakarta, has set up a relief center to help the people affected by the floods. API’s staff will be working in these relief centers in the next two weeks. They are accepting donations in cash or kind. Direly needed are basic aid supplies, such as, ready to eat food such as bread and instant noodles, drinking water, rice, milk and diapers for infants, sanitary napkins for women, soaps, blankets, clothes, etc.

The city is flooded every year during the monsoon season. In 2007, it experienced one of the worst flooding in recent years. Experts have since then warned that flooding would be a more frequent occurrence in Jakarta. This year’s flooding is expected to surpass that of 2007, and more rains are expected in the coming days.

Partners who wish to send their support to API and the affected communities in Jakarta may get in touch with Ms. Ika Krishnayanti through e-mail address ikank@yahoo.com and mobile numbers 62-08128387971, 62-085888351668

Click here for more photos

(With report and photos from Ika Krishnayanti)

January 14th, 2013

AFA pushes for an FO-led MTCP2

AFA attended the second MTCP Steering Committee meeting for South Asia and Southeast Asia plus China last December 18, 2012 in Bangkok, Thailand. The meeting was convened to review the reports of the IFAD Supervision and Implementation Support (SIS) mission on the implementation experiences of MTCP (2009-2012) in the ten countries it covers. The review drew lessons learned, which were shared with IFAD as a major financer for possible scaling up.

Since June 2009, the Medium Term Cooperation Programme (MTCP) funded by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and coordinated at the regional level by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has been implemented in two sub-regions, namely Southeast Asia plus China and South Asia. The goal of the MTCP is to improve the livelihoods of rural poor producers, and its purpose is to enable small farmers’ organizations in the Asia and Pacific region and their networks to influence policies affecting their members. As an active member of the Global Farmers’ Forum, AFA, together with other regional/international FOs, pioneered the promotion of MTCP within IFAD.

IFAD initially expressed commitment to support MTCP phase 2. AFA expressed appreciation for IFAD’s effort to strengthen solidarity and cooperation among farmers. In line with this, AFA pushed for a more FO-led MTCP 2 as manifested by an institutional arrangement that allows FOs to manage and coordinate various activities not only at the national level but also at the sub-regional and regional levels.

January 14th, 2013

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

January 14th, 2013

CFS 39 adopts first version of Global Strategic Framework, approves way forward for Responsible Agri Investments

AFA participates in side event on women in agriculture

15 October 2012, Rome, Italy – Opening session of the 39th Session of the Committee on World Food Security CFS, FAO headquarters (Plenary Hall). ©FAO/Giulio Napolitano

The Committee on World Food Security (CFS) met for its 39th session last October 15-20, 2012 in Rome, Italy. During this meeting, the member governments endorsed the first version of the Global Strategic Framework for Food Security and Nutrition (GSF) and approved the terms of reference (TOR) for an inclusive consultation process within CFS to develop and ensure broad ownership of principles for responsible agricultural investments or RAI.  The Civil Society Mechanism for CFS ( CSM) actively engaged in the discussions during the entire meeting. AFA  Secretary General Esther Penunia participated in some meetings and in a side event on the role of women in agriculture organized by the World Farmers Organization.

The member governments of CFS  noted that the GSF will “provide an over-aching framework and a single reference document with practical guidance on core recommendations for food security and nutrition strategies, policies and actions validated by the wide ownership, participation and consultation afforded by the CFS.”

9 October 2012, Rome, Italy. World Farmers Organization – The Role of Women in Agriculture. CFS 39 – Side Event. FAO headquarters (Malaysia Room). ©FAO/Marco Salustro

The CSM found positive aspects in the GSF document, especially its reference to the right to food, to  smallholder farmers, agriculture and food workers, artisanal fisherfolk, pastoralists, indigenous people and the landless, women and youth, and recognition of agro-ecology, among others. Since the GSF is not a legally binding document, the challenge is for national governments to promote and make use of the GSF when formulating strategies, policies and programmes on food security, nutrition, agriculture, fisheries and forests.

In the approved TOR for RAI, the  tentative schedule of the consultation process for the set of principles on RAI starts in November 2012, with the final version scheduled to be approved during the CFS Plenary meeting in 2014. Regional multi-stakeholder consultations, e- consultations and consultations within existing regional meetings/fora is tentatively scheduled in 2013. While small farmers and their organizations are categorized under private and public investors, separate from CSO, the TOR nevertheless states that  the consultation process should be open and include all stakeholders, and that adequate participation of CSOs and the private sector (of all sizes) should be ensured.

19 October 2012, Rome, Italy. World Farmers Organization – The Role of Women in Agriculture. Ms. Estrella Penunia. CFS 39 – Side Event. FAO headquarters (Malaysia Room). ©FAO/Marco Salustro

During the side event entitled “Role of Women in Agriculture,” Ms. Penunia delivered the following intervention: “A woman farmer produces food. She cooks and puts food on the family dining table. She also markets her family’s farm produce. She takes care of the health of the family. She is the first teacher of her children. She gives birth. For a woman farmer, these roles are interrelated, interconnected. Thus if we want to ensure food security and nutrition, and want to reduce hunger and poverty in the world, we have to respond to the needs of the woman farmer down at the household level so that she can perform effectively and efficiently her many roles as a woman farmer.”

Click here for the first version of the Global Strategic Framework (GSF)

Click here for the Final Report of CFS 39, which includes the TOR for RA

Click here for the link to the CFS 39 documents