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Is there a need for a regional effort to support Farmer's Organisations in the Pacific?

Display Date: 11/18/12

IFAD has received a request to support a regional network of Farmers Organisations in the Pacific.  The proposal is posted in our resource library on this site. To access it directly, click here.

This would naturally fit within the overall IFAD Farmers Forum effort, and the work by the IFAD Asia and Pacific Division with farmers organisations in South and Southeast Asia under the Medium Term Cooperation Programme, (MTCP) implemented by FAO and SEWA. 

Recently there was a meeting in Nanning China to review MTCP experiences to date and plan for a possible Phase II of this programme that could expand to include the Pacific. In light of the PIFON proposal, Mr. Afamasaga Toleasoa, Chairman of the Samoan Farmers Association was invited to attend the meeting to represent the Pacific.

Is there a real need for support to a network described in the PIFON proposal? Does the proposal respond to the need of individual farmer organisations that would be members of the Pacific network? 

Comments
I would agree that there is a need to support and develop a Farmer Association Network in the Pacific region.Farmers are often 'spoken for' by others and so their voice is filtered through governments, farmer support organizations, donors etc. I think the difference between farm support organizations and farmers organizations needs some clarity and while in some cases an organization can be both support and farmer owned in some cases it is not and again the farmer being 'spoken for' may arise. However the proposal leans more toward capacity building than advocacy so perhaps the differentiation is not an issue in this case.

The farmer exchanges described would be extremely valuable and also the role of consolidator to facilitate access to inputs could be very valuable, this is a constraint faced by producer groups across the region. The activity to assist members prepare proposals is positive, PIFON will ultimately be as strong as its members and capacity at national level is vital for sustainability and to not rely in the longer term on consultant inputs for functioning of the organization.

I think it would also be worthwhile to receive comments and endorsement from those organizations who attended the EU AAACP workshop on the content of the proposal, there are a couple of things where the connection to "farmer associations' isnt clear such as the activity to develop a market proposal. Perhaps participants could clarify the farmer association role in this.

The proposal does not mention linkages or working with relevant organizations such as GFRAS or other existing regional networks, such as PIEN, POETCom or PESTNet. Without purposeful collaboration there is the risk of duplication and missed opportunities of capitalizing on each organizations strengths and experiences.

Posted on 11/26/12 5:26 AM.

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Greetings all - you find the extract from the report on the recent FAO agro - processors workshop relevant. Regards Kyle Stice

1.1 Building a bridge between farmers and agro-processors – The role of farmer organisations

Over the past four years FAO has supported work in the Pacific with both farmer organisations (FOs) and agro-processors. Through this work there have emerged some unique cases that place the farmer organisation as a ‘bridge’ between the grower and the agro-processor. The best example of this is the relationship between Farm Support Association (FSA) and Venui Vanilla (both based in Vanuatu). Under a contract arrangement FSA will provide a range of support activities to Venui Vanilla’s outgrowers that are scattered across the archipelago of Vanuatu, these services include: training in spice production and curing, managing the internal control system for organic certification and in some cases even buying on behalf of Venui Vanilla. The farmer organisation FSA gets paid by Venui Vanilla which helps to sustain its core staff, FSA is also able to address its core function which is to ‘support rural development through agriculture’. For the agro processor company Venui Vanilla, they would not be able to receive the volumes they do or work with as many farmers without the inputs from FSA.

It is proposed that FAO fund the writing up of these few case studies that highlight the role farmer organisations can play in helping to link farmers with agro processors. These case studies would highlight the critical success factors in each of the successful partnerships and explore how this may be applicable to other enterprises. It is then proposed that FAO could support a workshop for key farmer organisations and agro processors from the region to present the findings from the case studies as well as address other critical training areas.

Posted on 12/11/12 5:23 AM.

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