Asian Forest and Farm Producer Organizations call for increased support to scale up their businesses, more secure land and forest tenure

©FAO/Aung Htay Hlaing

24 November 2017, Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar — Forest and Farm Producer Organizations (FFPOs) from more than 10 countries across the Asia and the Pacific region have called for increased support to scale up their businesses, more secure land and forest tenure rights, and enhanced collaborations with the private sector, governments and non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

Greater involvement by women and youth, stronger networks of FFPOs, as well as innovative and improved access to financing and credit — all aimed at improving livelihoods and advancing sustainable development — were also recommended at the second Asian Regional Conference of FFPOs, which ended Wednesday.

With the theme, “From Users to Producers: Scaling up FFPOs businesses to implement Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in climate-resilient landscapes,” the conference focused on business incubation and helping smaller enterprises to grow. Participants from local and global forest and farm-related organizations shared best practices that contribute to the implementation of the SDGs and to the enhancement of climate-resilient landscapes.

At the core of this work are strong producer organizations, which can offer a wide range of services to small producers — from management of natural resources to education, training, innovations in technology, access to markets and financing.

“Producer organizations are strategic partners for FAO in achieving its mandate and SDG targets on food security and poverty reduction,” said Xiaojie Fan, FAO Representative in Myanmar, who spoke at the conference. “FAO supports existing dynamics in countries by strengthening producer organizations’ capacities at global, regional and national levels. Drawing on its global resources and expertise, and programmes such as the Forest and Farm Facility, FAO facilitates knowledge generation, organizational capacity building, legal and policy reforms, partnerships and South-South cooperation,” she added.

For more than 450 million people across Asia and the Pacific, forests are an integral part of their lives, with forest producers — by contributing to local economies and rural development — working daily to achieve the SDGs. FFPOs also play an important part by increasing the resilience of rural communities, thereby providing a form of social protection.

Community forest and farm businesses are also critical actors in building and enhancing climate resilience in landscapes. Moreover, by offering communities opportunities to diversify their incomes, FFPOs provide a means of increasing economic resilience.

Challenges identified by the event include poor physical infrastructure in many rural areas, limited access to financing, weak tenure rules, and insufficient recognition of the role of FFPOs in rural economies.

The event included exchange visits by almost 60 participants to the Wuyan Community Forest and to a planned sawmill in Wiang Maw Township, Kachin State. Conference organizers included FAO Myanmar and the Forest Farm Facility (FFF) — a partnership between FAO, the international Institute for Environment and Development, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, and AgriCord.

last updated:  Monday, November 27, 2017