By Lao Farmer Network (LFN)
Small holder farmers across the world have been facing difficulties in adapting to social-economic and climate changes. Farmer collective action is very important in order to help the farmers to increase their knowledge and skills in order to have different strategies to cope with challenges as well as improving capacity to engage with markets and influencing policies.
The Mid-Term Cooperation Program phase 2 (MTCP2) is a program that try to help small holder farmers in 17 countries in South East Asia, South Asia, Pacific and China to strengthening farmer organization and their network to influence policies and delivering services to other disadvantage farmers. This program is funded by IFAD, SDC and EU from 2013 to 2018.
Lao Farmer Network, a National Implementing Agency (NIA) of Laos hosted the 2nd Expanded Steering Committee Meeting in Vientiane province on 6-8 June 2016. 66 people(26 women) from 32 organizations participated this event including NIA from Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar, China, Indonesia, Philippines, Bangladesh, India, Sri lanka, Nepal, Fiji, Samoa, Regional Implementing Agencies, technical advisory agencies and development partners such as IFAD, SDC and EU.
Mr. Somboun Saiboakeo, president of the Lao Farmer Network on behalf of the host organizer express his appreciation for giving the opportunity for Lao farmers to participate this project “the project helped us to engage in policy dialogue which help us to access to more supports from our government and other development initiatives. With the supports since 2014, we gained capacity in organizational management and market engagement.”
The meeting focused on reviewing success and constraints for the first half of the program and to agree on ways forward to improve performance of the program for the remaining half. Mr. Peter Situ, a member of the Mid-Term Review (MTR) team gave a recommendation for the future improvements: “We need to target on some commodity with a clear focus of farmer organization, so that we can invest on them for the rest of the program in order to make sure that small holder farmers in the field will benefit from the program.”
Most of recommendations from the MTR team were accepted including technical components, program management, monitoring and evaluation, knowledge management and financial management.
The meeting also identified joint strategies for planning at regional and national level, exchanges of good practices and visited 2 agricultural cooperatives in Vientiane province.