Strengthening the engagement of Farmers’ Union (FU) in policy process
14:36 - 20/12/2018
“Sustainable Economic Empowerment of Ethnic Minorities (3EM)” is one of 06 projects under IFAD country programmes in Vietnam, which contributed to the sustainable improvement of livelihoods of the poor and ethnic minority households in Dak Nong province, particularly focusing on women. After the 3EM completed in 2016, provincial People’s Committee proposed to the Government and IFAD to develop the project phase 2 oriented towards developing agricultural business adapted to climate change with about 200 Common Interest Group (CIGs) supported in the project area.

 In the past, the roles of provincial FU in the implementation of IFAD project was not much. They were only enabled to take part in meetings with IFAD provincial Coordination Board and other relevant stakeholders every 6 months. However, after the Cooperation Agreement signed between VNFU and IFAD at the central level phase 2010-2015 and 2016-2020, which encouraged provincial FU to engage in IFAD project activities, they are more proactive in getting access to information, developing advisory plans to local authority and link with IFAD provincial Coordination Board. Therefore, in 2017, after the 3EM completed, Dak Nong provincial FU, with supporting of Medium Term Cooperation Programme between IFAD and Asian- Pacific Farmers' Organization (MTCP2) National Implementing Agency Vietnam, organized to collect and process data from current situation of Common Interest Group (CIGs) under the project phase 1, organized 05 commune-level consultations, 05 interviews and 01 provincial consultation on the development of IFAD supported proposal 2018-2023. In the consultation at provincial levels, besides CIGs, some relevant Department and Agencies such as representatives of provincial People’s Committee, IFAD project Coordination Board, Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, etc also attended.
 
Consultation Workshop at provincial level in Dak Nong province with direct dialouge between local authority and farmers

Thanks to the survey findings and valuable ideas of participants in the consultations, Dak Nong provincial FU finalized the proposal, submitted it to provincial People’s Committee, IFAD Coordination Board and it has been approved in designing the next phase project. In particular, FU will be handovered to manage, monitor and facilitate the operation of the CIGs; keep guiding CIG members on loans for production through Supporting Fund for Farmers; strenghthen and extend farmers to farmers training models; advise CIGs for effective operation then transform them into cooperatives; FU at all levels, especially grassroot one regularly develop plans and programmes to support and access the working of CIGs, etc.

Before, Dak Nong provincial FU leader representatives, among 66 leader representatives from 16 provincial FU took part in the training courses on Farmers Advocacy Consultation Tool (FACT) and policy advocacy skills provided by MTCP 2 NIA Vietnam. They had chances to learn about 04 pillars of FACT, consisting of farmers consultation, participatory research, writing SMART proposals, lobby mapping and stakeholder analysis, then compared with their current practices to find out their gaps and solutions to overcome them. After that, their policy advocacy capacity and skills have been improved. This consultation on the development of IFAD supported proposal 2018-2023 is also one of the typical activities implemented from what they learn in FACT. Through activities like that, the role of FU has been enhanced significantly at the very first time joining development programmes, especially IFAD country programmes.

Hong Linh
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