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CSO Statement to 33rd FAO Asia Pacific Regional Conference, 7-11 March 2016, Putrajaya, Malaysia

Honourable Chairperson, Excellencies, Distinguished Delegates and Observers, Ladies and Gentlemen

  1. We, 54 representatives of small farmers, landless, rural women, fishers, agricultural workers, pastoralists and herders, indigenous peoples, consumers, youth and NGOs representing 39 national, regional and international CSOs coming from 17 countries met in conjunction with the 33rd FAO APRC. We thank the FAO for this opportunity for civil society to tell you our stories.
  1. Your statistics and our stories tell us that our food and agriculture system is not only broken, it is also slowly killing us.
  1. Across the region, we are losing farmers rapidly to suicide, poverty and hunger. In India, 300,000 farmers committed suicide from 1995 to 2014. From 2003 to 2013, 5 million family farmers left agriculture in Indonesia; in India, 2035 farmers are leaving agriculture every day. In Australia, there were over 55,000 pig farms in the 1960s – there are now just 600. With the loss of every family farm comes a social cost for rural communities and more profit in the pockets of a shrinking number of large, transnational corporations.
  1. We have modern slavery of fisher folk on commercial trawlers, and of workers in processing facilities. Rural women remain invisible and undervalued, despite their key role as food producers, seed savers, farm workers, custodians of families, and household providers.
  1. Unfair international trade rules and free-trade agreements such as the TPP limit small-scale producers’ access to markets, and where we gain market access, we suffer from low prices as a result of unequal bargaining positions.
  1. Hence, there is an urgent need to move away from chemical-intensive, monocultural, climate change-causing mode of production to diverse agroecological farming systems that are regenerative, organic, resilient and nurturing. There are many examples of successful agroecology in the region, even in Australia, with the rise of multi-species holistic planned grazing.

We, the CSO community, strongly call on our governments to:

  1. immediately implement the recommendations of the Multi-stakeholder Consultation on Agroecology for Asia and the Pacific.
  1. provide capacity building for smallholders and community-owned cooperatives to control value chains, and implement scale-appropriate regulation to enable small-scale producers to produce, process and distribute our products.
  2. strengthen local food systems by implementing local procurement and distribution policies that favour ecologically- and socially-just supply chains within local, regional and national governments.
  1. Acknowledge family farmers’ global contribution by endorsing the call for an International Decade on Family Farming by the UN and review the commitments made in previous years to cooperatives, soils and other areas of food and agriculture that have been acknowledged by the UN.
  1. Protect consumers by ensuring that food is safe, nutritious, diverse and sustainably-produced, free of pesticides, antibiotics, and GMOs.
  1. Rigorously pursue human rights violations in the food and agriculture sector, with serious efforts to ensure corporate accountability, including punitive measures for violators. Relevant existing instruments include: the UN Declaration on Human Rights, ICARRD, the UN Draft Declaration on Peasant Rights and Other People Who Work in Rural Areas, the Voluntary Guidelines on Governance of Land Tenure and Small-Scale Fisheries.

As CSOs, we are committed to working together with FAO. Specifically, we call on the FAO to:

  1. Ensure continued meaningful participation of social movements and CSOs in the formulation, implementation and monitoring of FAO policies, legally binding agreements, strategic programs and FAO developed guidelines, especially at national level.
  1. Support independent CSO monitoring and reporting of compliance and state of affairs.
  1. Maintain sufficient time and space in the agenda for robust interventions from CSOs during the APRC.

Ladies and gentlemen, why do the young people go to the city? They go for opportunity – for a decent livelihood. But when they get there, life is more expensive, and there is no connection to the land, and to life. And so they want to come back. But they cannot without opportunity.

To attract the young people back to agriculture we must provide access to land, control of value chains, and access to markets. We must join together and fight corporate control of what must be democratic food systems. Our future depends on it.

Thank you for your attention to the concerns of civil society. We hope that the Member States and FAO consider our recommendations in the regional program priorities and implementation.


Action Aid (AA)
Asian Farmers Association (AFA)
Asian Partnerhsip for the Development of Human Resources in Rural Asia (AsiaDHRRA)
Asia-Pacific Network for Food Sovereignty (APNFS)
Asian Rural Women’s Coalition (ARWC)
Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance (AFSN)
BARIO – Malaysia
Cambodian Federation of Agricultural Rpoducers (CFAP)
Center for Environmental Justice (CEJ-Friends of the Earth Sri Lanka)
Center for Social Research and Development (CSRD)
Center of Environmental Law and Community Rights (CELCOR-Friends of the Earth Papua New Guinea)
Consumers’ International
DHRRA Malaysia
Farmer and Nature Net (FNN)
Friends of Earth International (FoEI)
Greenpeace South East Asia
International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM)
International Federation of Rural Adult Catholic Movements (FIMARC)
International Movement of Catholic Agricultural and Rural Youth (MIJARC Youth)
Indonesian Peasants Union (SPI)
Kesatuan Nelayan Tradisional Indonesia (KNTI )
Korean Federation for Environmental Movement (KFEM-Friends of the Earth Korea)
Kumpulan Organik Kelantan
La Via Campesina (LVC)
Malaysian Agroecology Society for Sustainable Resource Intensification (SRI-MAS)
National Association of Mongolian Agriculture Cooperative (NAMAC)
Palestinian Environmental NGOs Network (PENGON-Friends of the Earth Palestine)
People’s Coalition for Fisheries Justice (KIARA)
Pesticide Action Network – Asia and the Pacific (PAN-AP)
Pro Public (Friend of the Earth Nepal)
Sanctuary for Indigenous and Peasant – Sarawak (PANGGAU)
Self-Epmployed Women’s Association (SEWA)
Southeast Asian Council for Food Security & Fair Trade  (SEACON)
South East Asia Fish for Justice (SEAFISH)
Third World Network (TWN)
Wahana Lingkungan Hidup Indonesia (WALHI-Friends of the Earth Indonesia)
World March of Women Pakistan
World Rural Forum (WRF)


Copies of the CSO Consultation documents may be downloaded from

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AsiaDHRRA, DHRRA Malaysia Co-Organize CSO Consultation Pre-33rd FAO APRC


Sengalor, Malaysia –  The CSO AdHoc Committee for FAO Engagement (AHC), International Planning Committee (IPC), together with local CSO hosts: DHRRA Malaysia (member of AsiaDHRRA) and PANGGAU (member of La Via Campecina), with support from FAO Regional Office, organized the CSO Consultation in conjunction with the 33rd FAO Asia Pacific Regional Conference (APRC) on 5-6 March 2016.

The Civil Society Consultation is a self-organized meeting held before or in parallel to the FAO Asia-Pacific Regional Conference (APRC). It is meant to gather key actors from different constituencies and countries to discuss key topics pertinent to the region, evaluate what FAO has done in the previous biennium (according to what was agreed upon at the previous Regional Conference), and discuss on specific agenda items of the Conference. The CSOs also take stock of what has been done collectively in the region/sub-region or thematically in view of the call of actions they have made in the previous biennial meeting.  The CSO Consultation prepared the CSO delegates to the Technical and Official APRC on 7-11 March at the Putrajaya Convention Center in Putra Jaya, Malaysia.

The consultation was participated by at least 50 delegates, representing FO and CSOs, from at least 17 countries in Asia and the Pacific.

Copies of the CSO Consultation documents may be downloaded from

AsiaDHRRA currently serves as the AHC Focal Point.

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FAO Conducts Regional Forum on Food Loss

Bangkok, Thailand – AsiaDHRRA was invited to join with more than 76 representatives from governments, private sector, academe, civil society organizations and producers’ organizations in Asia and Pacific to the Regional Consultation on Reducing Food Loss and Food Waste in Asia and Pacific Region. The consultation was organized by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization on 6-7 July 2015 at Sheraton Hotel and Towers, Bangkok, Thailand. AsiaDHRRA was represented by Mr. Florante Villas, Regional Program Manager.
FAO food loss
Views from Mr. Villas is that food loss and food waste (FLW) is estimated at 1.3 billion tons annually. It is ironic that scarce resources are used to address food security and nutrition yet around 1/3 of food produced for human consumption is lost and wasted.

FLW can be minimized at the post-harvest, drying, storing, sorting, grading side where FL is the largest in the value chain. By complying with product quality standards in the modern value chains we will be able to minimize food losses and farmers benefit from higher prices.  Products that can not pass quality requirements are still useful for household consumption or fed into the parallel traditional value chains that cater to local markets.

In the current practice, farmers sell their products “all in one” (best, good, mediocre and low quality grade) and get low prices because the risks are absorbed by the trader.  The trader sorts out the product and benefit from the premium price for best grade, better price for the good grade that compensates for the low quality grade that is usually transformed into non-food use (or probably wasted). Thus, there are economic incentives to minimize food losses.

AsiaDHRRA commits to contribute to the over-all awareness building on the importance of reducing FLW and in policy advocacy for reducing food loss though public investments in road networks, drying, freezing and storing facilities and harmonized regulations on food product quality and food safety.

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AsiaDHRRA kicks off 2015 International Year of Soils with ISFM Training

28 January 2015, Ormoc City, Philippines — In celebration of the 2015 International Year of Soils, AsiaDHRRA conducted a training-workshop on Integrated Soil Fertility Management (ISFM) from 26th-28th January 2015. Participants were volunteer farmer agri-technicians from the farmers’ organizations being supported by the Post-Yolanda Fund for Local Initiatives.

kick off soils

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AsiaDHRRA co-organizes IYFF Knowledge Learning Market and Policy Engagement

25 November 2014, Quezon City, Philippines — AsiaDHRRA together with the Government of the Philippines (GoP)—through the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR)—the International Fund for Agriculture and Organization (IFAD), the Food and Agriculture Organizations (FAO),PhilDHRRA, PAKISAMA, ANGOC, and, Philippines Agri-agency Synergy recently hosted the national celebration of the International Year of Family Farming (IYFF), dubbed as IYFF Philippines Knowledge and Learning Market – Policy Engagement (IYFF Ph KLM-PE) on 24-25 November 2014.

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New edition of FAO’s “State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture” released

State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture

FAO released their latest edition of the  “State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture” which highlights growing role of fish in feeding the world. The accompanying  infographic sums it up well. Interestingly, in the report, FAO highlights the very important role of smallholder activities (a perspective and strategy which Asiadhrra strenously promotes in its programs and through the IYFF ), saying that “FAO, through the 2014 International Year of Family Farming, is raising the profile of smallholder activities – including fisheries and aquaculture – with an emphasis on improving access to finance and markets, securing tenure rights and protecting the environment.” 

An important trend sees developing countries boosting their share in the fishery trade – 54 percent of total fishery exports by value in 2012 and more than 60 percent by quantity (live weight).

This means fisheries and fish farming are playing an increasingly critical role for many local economies. Some 90 percent of fishers are small scale and it is estimated that, overall, 15 percent are women.  In secondary activities such as processing, this figure can be as high as 90 percent.

Full Infographic here…

Report Highlights here…

Read the full report here (PDF)…



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