PHNOM PEHN, CAMBODIA - It was a sunny morning when we landed in Phnom Penh – strange seeing the blue skies after weeks of Singapore being covered by haze. While contemplating the lovely streets and landscape of the drive into town, I was mentally checking notes for an important presentation that was taking place later that day during the Sub-Regional Steering Committee -Southeast Asia (SRSC-SEA) meeting held in Cambodia.
The meeting was hosted by the Cambodian Farmer Association Federation of Agricultural Producers (CFAP Cambodia) and Farmer and Nature Net (FNN), two national farmer organizations in Cambodia who are implementing phase two of the Medium Term Cooperation Programme with Farmers’ Organisations in Asia and the Pacific Region (MTCP 2).
Some background information: The first phase of the IFAD-funded MTCP was a pilot grant implemented by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) from 2009 to 2012. It promoted the inclusion of smallholder farmers and their organizations in policy dialogues at various levels and strengthened regional, sub-regional and national farmer organization (FO) platform in Asia.
Phase two of the programme, MTCP 2, is built on experiences and lessons learned from the first phase and to scale up the development of FOs in Asia and the Pacific region. Its goal is to enhance the integration of poor smallholders, especially women and young people, through improved and inclusive services for FO members.
MTCP 2 also aims at supporting poverty reduction in the region through strengthened capacity of rural farmers and their organizations to influence policies impacting on the livelihoods of rural poor producers. Farmer organizations in Asia Pacific need to strengthen their capacities to be the best channel of services for their member small-scale farmers as well as credible voices in advocating for pro-poor policies and programs.
In line with these objectives, Grow Asia is very keen to elevate – since its conception – the engagement of the farmers and farmer association to the strategic level to help inform the partnerships’ design, to expand the scale of activities through engaging more farmers, and to ensure that projects are addressing the needs and expectations of the smallholder farmers in ASEAN. Initiated by the World Economic Forum in partnership with the ASEAN Secretariat, Grow Asia will like to partner with MTCP 2 to establish the Grow Asia Farmer Advisory Council.
Monica Hornung Cattan
Project Manager, Country Partnerships