Expanding the Pacific Island Farmers Organisation Network membership is not undertaken lightly, especially when it involves adding a new country to the mix. It is important that new members strengthen the overall network, and don’t reduce the services and benefits to the existing members.
Timor Leste has been on the radar for some time, as they have a well developed national seeds network and would bring this expertise with them. The MTCP2 programme enabled a consultant to be engaged to conduct a study of farmer organisations in the country and to identify any that might be suitable. He recommended that ANAPROFIKO would be the best fit for the Pacific Islands Farmer Organisation Network and that there was interest within their organisation to become a member.
After meeting with ANAPROFIKO and starting discussions, it was decided that they would also be a good fit for the MTCP2 programme, extending the reach to another country in the Pacific region. However, adding them to the programme wouldn’t bring additional funding and so the other national implementing agencies had to agree, as their share of the MTCP2 pie would be reduced. The overwhelming response was that what they would bring to the programme more than made up for the reduced share each would receive, resulting in a win-win situation.
With a new network member and a new national implementing agency for the funding programme, the Pacific Island Farmers Organisation Network started introducing ANAPROFIKO to a range of donor partners. It wasn’t long before they were hosting a farmers’ consultation meeting related to the implementation of the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program. As adirect result of this consultation, farmer organisations were given a standing seat on the project steering committee.