AFA members in Cambodia and Bangladesh hold consultation dialogues on national GAFSP projects
National Farmers’ Organizations (FOs) Farmer and Nature Net (FNN), AFA member in Cambodia, and Kendrio Krishok Moitree ( KKM), AFA member in Bangladesh, convened consultation workshops cum dialogues with government implementers of national projects financed under the Global Agriculture for Food Security Program or GAFSP.
The consultation in Cambodia was held last November 8, 2012, with 43 participants (32 male, 11 female) representing farmers from 8 GAFSP project areas, 2 other national FOs (Farmer and Water Net and CFAP), and 3 national NGOs (CEDAC, FLIFLY, Irrigation Service Center). The meeting was observed by representatives from national FOs in Nepal and Mongolia, Mr. Mammadou Cissokho of ROPPA in Africa, Ms. Marlene Ramirez from AsiaDHRRA and Mr. Marek Poznanski from CSA, both of which are Agricord members. AFA was represented by Mr. Marciano Virola Jr., Ms. Lany Rebagay and Ms. Esther Penunia.
The farmer participants appreciated the presence of HE Vong Sandap, Deputy Secretary General of the Ministry of Economics and Finance, HE Srun Darith, Deputy Secretary General of CARD, and Ms. Nao Ikemoto from ADB, which is the Supervising Entity of the project.
During the dialogue, the farmers were able to get a copy of the 100 communes that will be covered by the Project. The farmers also asked the government officials to adopt processes that will include the voices of the farmer leaders in the covered areas, and build the self-reliance of farmers groups. They also asked for participation of CSOs in the steering committee at the national level.
The consultation in Bangladesh was held last December 12, 2012, with 23 participants (18 male, 5 female), including 7 leaders of farmers groups in Kurigram and Patuakhali districts, leaders of 13 civil society organizations, and 1 journalist. Ms. Esther Penunia represented AFA.
Mr. Imanum Nobi Khan from FAO-Bangladesh gave updates on the Technical Assistance Component of the Integrated Agricultural Productivity Project (IAPP), which is funded by the GAFSP. He said that FAO’s mapping study revealed there are around 163,000 farmers groups organized by various government agencies; as well as 82,853 legally registered farmers cooperatives. However, Mr. Alauddin, Secretary General of KKM, said that many farmers were organized into groups for the purpose of project design fulfillment, and many of these groups cease to function when the project ends. He said that it is important for farmers groups to have a long-term vision and an ethical, political and economic orientation from its beginning/formation.
The participants welcomed FAO’s plan in 2013 to conduct, among others, (1) leadership training activities to leaders of farmers groups in the project areas, and (2) exchange visits among farmers inside the country as well as among farmers groups in India and Cambodia.
The participants also called for representation of FOs and CSOs in the project’s national and regional management/steering committee and the use of local experts in the various training and capacity building activities.
The workshop was co-convened by Action Aid, and was supported financially by Agricord through AsiaDHRRA.