The first phase of the Forest & Farm Facility (FFF), which ran from 2012 to 2017, was a clear success. In the 10 focal countries, over 900 forest and farmer producer organizations (FFPOs) were strengthened, 279 business plans were completed, 51 policy platforms were established, and 33 policies were reformed. The second phase of FFF, a partnership between FAO, IIED, IUCN and Agricord, was launched in Vietnam on August 14 in Hanoi.
As in the first phase, the Vietnam Farmer Union (VNFU) will coordinate FFF implementation in Vietnam. VNFU hosted the launch workshop with over 85 participants from farmer unions in northern provinces, Vietnam Administration of Forestry and other government agencies, local NGOs, private sector, international organizations and donors.
Presenting at the workshop, Vo Dinh Tuyen from the Office of Government shared the results from a workshop on the development of wood processing and exports chaired by Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc in HCMC in early August. The PM called engaging all stakeholders to grow this sector and achieve export targets of $12-13 billion by 2020 and $18-20 billion by 2025. To meet these target and to effectively implement the new Forestry Law that will come into effect in January 2019, it is imperative to address longer rotations for high quality timber, legal source assurance, increased investment in advanced processing technology, stronger linkages between processing companies and tree growers, and expanding the scale of FFPOs.
Many of these challenges issues can be tackled by FFF, especially since the new phase emphasizes a landscape approach and is expected to deliver four outcomes: (1) more inclusive governance and cross-sectorial processes lead to enabling policies and legal environment for FFPOs; (2) increased entrepreneurship, access to markets and finance through equitable value chains and business development services within FFPOs; (3) Improved delivery of landscape scale mitigation, adaptation and resilience for climate change through direct engagement of FFPOs and integration with inclusive livelihood approaches, and (4) Improved and equitable access to social and cultural services.
In addition, phase two will establish and strengthen the operations and service delivery of business incubators like VNFU to institutionalize support for FFPOs. “The prime minister requested farmer union at all levels to organize regular dialogues between farmers and local authorities so VNFU is well-positioned to facilitate multi-stakeholders and cross sectoral platforms and provide more support for forestry cooperatives and collective groups” said Nguyen Xuan Dinh, Director of FFF in Vietnam.
Through plenary and group discussions, the project team prepared a workplan for 2018-2022 that in addition to achieving the four outcomes will mainstream gender equality and ethnic minority rights in FFF interventions.
Representatives from IKEA and its contractors highlighted the need to guarantee the legality of timber and expressed their willingness to cooperate with FFF to help smallholder groups get FSC certification
FAO’s Sophie Grouwels stated that FFF will cooperate with organizations to upscale best practices and mobilize resources to help FFPOs become primary change agents in climate resilient landscape restoration, improved livelihoods, and achievement of Sustainable Development Goals.
Next step is for VNFU to conduct a scoping study to identify potential sites for FFF intervention.