Farmer organizations in Bangladesh are participating in the capacity building activities of the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) under the Technical Assistance (TA) component of the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP) project of Bangladesh.
Md. Mahmud Hossain, National Team Leader of IAPP-TA in Bangladesh said that the Integrated Agricultural Productivity Project (IAPP) already has two farmer representative members in the Project Steering Committee from two regions of the project area and they attend the meetings regularly.
“We included them in our capacity building initiative so they can participate more efficiently in the PSC meeting,” Hossain emphasized.
According to Hossain, the farmer representatives who sit in the steering committee of IAPP are: (1) Md. Wahedul Islam, President, Ghonirampur Livelihood Field School in Manirampur, Taraganj, Rangpur; and, (2) Md. Fazlul Haq, President, Munda Pasha Livelihood Field School in Munda Pasha, Uzirpur, Barisal
FOs call for more open dialogue, representation and participation with government on GAFSP at country level
As support organization for the GAFSP CSO Asia representative, the Asian Farmers’ Association (AFA) held a regional consultation about GAFSP and other agriculture -related programs among its members and partners last May 8, 2014 in Bali, Indonesia. The consultation was held during the 6th AFA General Assembly with the theme “Seizing the Momentum to Get Concrete Gains for Small Scale Farmers this IYFF,” which was attended by 30 men and 10 women from 17 national farmer organizations in 13 countries, as well as partners and supporters from Agriterra, Collectif Stratégies Alimentaires (CSA), AsiaDHRRA, World Rural Forum (WRF), Food and Agriculture Organization Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific (FAORAP), Asia Pacific Association of Agricultural Research Institutes (APAARI), Global Forum on Agricultural Research (GFAR), International Land Coalition (ILC) Asia and Konsorsium Pembaruan Agraria (KPA).
The Union of Water Users’ Association (UWUA) presented its experience in engaging the Kyrgyztan government in its GAFSP project where $37.0 million is allocated to fund an Agriculture Productivity and Nutrition Improvement Project (APNIP) to rehabilitate irrigation and drainage systems, build the capacity of water user associations (WUAs), and provide agricultural extension services. The project aims to increase agricultural productivity and food security of rural households in selected areas nationwide. It has the following components: (1) Rehabilitation and modernization of physical irrigation and drainage (I&D) infrastructure; (2) Institutional development and capacity building; (3) Agricultural advisory services; (4) Scaling-up Nutrition interventions and social protection; and (5) Project management. It will benefit 48,000 smallholder farmers, i.e. 216,000 individuals, including 20% women-led households. The project has been approved and will be implemented in 2015. UWUA was involved in project design and project proposal promotion, peer review of the project proposal documentations, and lobbying for Parliament project ratification. There are issues and needs identified such as low awareness and technical capacity of UWUA at national and local levels.
While the UWUA is being involved in the design processes of GAFSP, FOs from other GAFSP recipient countries called for more meaningful involvement. Alauddin Sikder, Secretary General of Kendrio Krishok Moitree (KKM) said that, while FOs are involved in the capacity building activities of FAO under its Technical Assistance component, FOs still does not have a seat in the National Steering/Management Committees and thus are not able to exact more accountability from this Project. In Mongolia, the participant from the National Association of Mongolian Agricultural Cooperatives (NAMAC) said that the organization has been nominated to represent the FOs in the steering committee, but the project has yet to take place and no meeting has been held yet. In Nepal, the FO Nepal Peasant Coalition (NPC) represents the FO in the national steering committee. However, elections have stalled the implementation of the Project, but FOs are hopeful because a new Minister of Agriculture from the FO leadership had been appointed.
During the workshop with other FOs, one of the issues identified is how to help FOs catch up with the program and how to address problems and difficulties in FO participation in the program. The CSOs recommended that there should be a more open dialogue between FOs and government partners in each country on GAFSP. Moreover, field visits should be conducted to disseminate more widely the information about GAFSP. They also identified support needed to build capacity to engage in agriculture development programs like joint meetings at country level with implementing organizations, institutional capacity building for FOs and capacity building for advocacy.
The Third Mission by the CSO representative to the Steering Committee conducted last July-3-6, 2013 in Mongolia succeeded in generating updates on the investment (WB) and the technical assistance (FAO) components of the four-year 12.5 million (USD)-Livestock and Agricultural Marketing Project (LAMP), the status of the baseline research, and the extent of CSO involvement. It also succeeded in catalysing the coming together of CSOs, FAO, WB, and LAMP management to discuss updates and clarify on the recently advertised Call for Expressions of Interest re: Technical Service Providers of LAMP. CSOs also discussed involvement in the celebration of the International Year of Family Farming and their comments to the zero draft of the Committee on Food Security (CFS) on Responsible Agro Investments.
LAMP has already been signed by the WB and will be effective first week of August 2013. Draft Project Implementation Plans and Guidelines both in English and Mongolian have already been prepared and will be finalized by end of August. Consultations with stakeholders have been conducted and Trainers Training on Rural Invest has been set. The Project Coordinator is now on board. The search for CSO Technical Service Providers for target cooperatives in fifteen soums in five aimags, who will be on board by September, has been recently advertised in Daily News. Baseline information covering 1800 households has been gathered and report would be ready for presentation by October.
Key issues raised and clarified during the Mission included: 1) NAMAC’s status as CSO representative in the Project Steering Committee if it expresses interest as Technical Service Provider; 2) LAMP’s implementation delay; and 3) AFA’s relations with NAMAC and role in LAMP.
The Mission ended with CSOs committing to continue their forum on GAFSP-LAMP and to discuss their effective representation in the Project Steering Committee, to participate in the Call for Technical Service Providers, and to take active role in the celebration of International Year of Family Farming in Mongolia.
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