IFAD/EU unveil 16 million euro ASEAN farmers' organizations support program at the 37th Ministers meeting

Makati City, Philippines -12 September 2015 - The European Union (EU) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) are pouring in fresh support to a capacity building programme that is helping improve the livelihoods and food security situation of smallholder farmers and rural producers in ASEAN countries.

This was announced by Hoonae Kim of IFAD Asia Pacific and Franck Viault of the EU Delegation at the 37th Meeting of the ASEAN Ministers on Agriculture and Forestry (AMAF) on September 10, 2015 at the Manila Peninsula, Makati City, Philippines following IFAD and EU regional programme joint presentation to the ASEAN Ministers.

Hoonae Kim, IFAD Director emphasized the success of ASEAN and the current IFAD investments in 8 of the 10 member countries (20 projects amounting to USD 2 billions and dedicated to agriculture development). She indicated that "80% of agriculture investments are done by smallholders who provide 80% of food supply, and they deserve support from Governments and international finance institutions".Ms Kim presented two areas for cooperation with ASEAN: a policy grant support to ASEAN common market integration to ensure smallholders are not left behind; and farmers' organizations support with EU and Swiss Cooperation Agency:

The ASEAN Farmers' Organizations Support Program (AFOSP) is an EUR 16 million programme of which EUR 15 million are provided by the EU. AFOSP aims at strengthening Farmers' Organisations (FO's) institutional and operational capacities; enable FOs at different levels to have their interests better taken into account in regional, national and provincial policies on smallholder priority subjects; and improve FO's services to their members through entrepreneurial capacities and participation in value chains.
The program is helping ASEAN FOs to evolve into stable, professional, accountable organisations capable of providing effective and sustainable services to their members and of influencing policy and corporate processes on agriculture and food security issues at local, national, ASEAN regional and global levels.

AFOSP consists of two highly complementary Components -- (i) support to the Medium Term Cooperation Programme phase II and regional policy dialogue in ASEAN region – MTCP ASEAN and (ii) Farmers Fighting Poverty – Food Security Initiatives of Farmers’ Organisations in a Regional Perspective programme (FFP ASEAN). The two components share the same objectives and activities although both the approach and the level of intervention are different but complementary.
MTCP2 ASEAN will be managed by the consortium of the Asian Farmers' Association for Sustainable Rural Development (AFA) and La Via Campesina (LVC), while the FFP ASEAN will be managed by the AgriCord network of agri-agencies.
Since 2013, MTCP2 operates in Asia Pacific at regional and national levels, supporting FOs platforms at regional, sub-regional and national levels and to create institutional linkages between these platforms and ASEAN Secretariat, while FFP ASEAN mainly involves local FOs and value chains specialised FOs from the local to the national level since 2007. MTCP ASEAN would primarily focus on those activities that can benefit all members’ platforms towards building common agenda for policy dialogue and joint action both for economic and political actions, while FFP ASEAN would tailor its support to the specific needs of individual FOs in terms of organizational strength and inclusiveness, institutional development, business development (economic services), policy elaboration and advocacy.

Franck Viault, Head of Cooperation EU Jakarta, highlighted the enhanced ASEAN-EU partnership including notably increased EU development assistance to ASEAN both at regional and bilateral level, notably support for agriculture sector in Cambodia, Lao PDR and Myanmar; AFOSP will be fully complementary to these bilateral programs. He also mentioned that "the ASEAN Secretariat, ASEAN Sectoral Bodies and the ASEAN Foundation are the shareholders of AFOSP program and this will ensure the stronger and mutually beneficial links with Farmer Organisations and other stakeholders":

The feedback from six ASEAN Ministers and their representatives on the presentation and purpose of AFOSP was very positive. They highlighted in particular the diversity of challenges their smallholders farmers are facing, importance of marketing and interaction with the private sector, knowledge dissemination and need for incentives for young generations to stay and succeed in the agriculture sector.
The program will run for 5 years from June 2015, and its implementation is monitored on