The Asian Farmers Association is a regional organization of small scale women and men farmers, fishers and indigenous peoples currently present in 12 countries, including 7 countries in Southeast Asia ( with members in the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Myanmar and partner in Laos). AFA envisions family farmers to lead happy, healthy and empowered lives.
One of the pillar of AFA’s strategic plan and the indicators for empowerment that AFA members have drawn is the FOs capacity to manage sustainable agro enterprises. Currently, initiatives have been taken by member FOs along these lines: increasing FO’s market power through cooperative/collective production, processing and marketing. This includes establishment and reinforcement of agro-enterprises especially through access to market and access to financing. Special attention is given to marketing for organic product (rice, cacao, free-range chicken, coffee, etc) focusing on sustainable farming technologies, cooperative marketing, participatory guarantee system and organic certification. The initiatives have varying degrees of success or development, some have developed faster than others, some more successful than others. But all expressed the need to know what others are doing and learning so that they can make improvements in their initiatives.
This Project aims to improve the capacities of AFA national FO members to provide services to its members/farmers association particularly in managing sustainable agro-enterprises through knowledge sharing and innovation and capturing of lessons learned through guidelines, frameworks, manuals. The Project will focus on several learning themes leading towards increasing farmers’ market power e.g. sound management practices of cooperative enterprises, training and extension services on production and marketing (e.g. commodity-based clustering/organizing, farmer-to-farmer extension, collective marketing, institutional purchase, contract negotiations, product quality improvement and product differentiation, setting up participatory guarantee system or organic product certification standards, savings mobilization/internal resource mobilization, external access to credit and loans, advocacy strategies for public policies and programs to provide incentive to farmer-led, farmer-owned agro enterprises).
In this Project, member FOs will take stock of their experiences, share their knowledge and learning with other FOs at national and regional levels, and in the process capture lessons learned and make efforts to apply these lessons through further innovation in their own strategies and approaches. Special attention will be given to sharing the experience of FO’s from OECD countries, especially AFA members (Japan, Taiwan and SKorea) but also FO’s from Europe. Experiences of Agri-agencies in supporting FOs shall likewise be included in the stock-taking process. Special attention will be pursued in engaging FOs in MTCP2 platforms both at the national and regional level