New Year, New Organisation
After more than 20 years of training farmers in Asia, the FAO Programme for Integrated Pest Management in Rice (known in recent years as the ‘Community IPM Programme’) comes to an end on December 31st 2002. Support will continue, however, for farmer empowerment, sustainable rural livelihoods and ecological agriculture through the work of a new regional organisation called The Field Alliance.
The FAO Programme was reviewed in November 2000 by an independent team of experts which recommended the establishment of a new organisation to take a leading role in the further development and broader application of the Farmer Field School and Community IPM (see here for details). This was followed in November 2001 by a regional meeting at which stakeholders from 12 countries discussed possible strategies and structures for the new organisation (see here for details). By the end of March 2002, The Field Alliance had been created, with a legal status as a non-profit organisation and its own Board of Directors.
The main work of the Alliance is carried out through National Partners. To date, three organisations have signed a Memorandum of Partnership, thereby providing The Field Alliance with the capability to support the empowerment of farmers in Indonesia, Cambodia and Thailand. Discussions are on-going in other countries with NGOs, professional associations and government departments which have expressed an interest in becoming Partners of The Field Alliance. The work of the Partners includes farmer training, community development, action research and advocacy. The activities of current Partners are being funded by a number of donors, including DANIDA, UNDP, the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), the International Plant Genetic Resources Institute (IPGRI) and the Government of Victoria, Australia.
The Field Alliance also has a team of Regional Advisers who previously worked with FAO and other international agencies. The Regional Advisers assist the National Partners while also carrying out short assignments – such as planning and evaluation missions – for a other agencies. Additionally, the Advisers are involved in organising international training courses and a number of information-sharing initiatives (including the management of this website).
Picture: The Field Alliance has recently been supporting a number of projects in Bangladesh funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID). This support includes a review of $35 million of assistance to poor and marginal farmers.
More information about The Field Alliance and National Partners is available at www.TheFieldAlliance.org.
FAO has supported the establishment of The Field Alliance during the final year of Community IPM Programme, using funds from the Government of Norway. This support included sub-contracts for National Partners and the appointment of a ‘Foundation Coordinator’ based in Bangkok. This support will come to an end by January 2003, but it is expected that FAO – like other international agencies – will collaborate with the Field Alliance for the benefit of farmers in the Region. FAO continues to implement projects in Asia which focus on Cotton IPM and Vegetable IPM; more information about the work of FAO is available from the Global IPM Facility.