A poverty reduction programme for farmers was discussed at a meeting in Hanoi on October 20.

At the meeting, 50 participants from 15 countries discussed plans for implementing the second phase of the Medium Term Cooperation Programme for Asia and the Pacific.

The programme, initiated by the United Nation's International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) in 2006, recognises the key role of farmers in producing food for the world's population.

This was the first regional steering committee meeting of the programme's phase 2, hosted by the Vietnam Farmer Union, which is also in charge of implementing the programme nationally.

Lai Xuan Mon, Vice Chairman of the Vietnam Farmer Union, said at the meeting that the programme's phase 2 aimed to reduce poverty and eliminate hunger in Asia and the Pacific.

Vietnam was actively taking actions to implement the programme to help local farmers, he said. However, he added that challenges also lay ahead, as Vietnam was still an agricultural country where farmers were 70 percent of the population and agricultural production had yet to yield the expected benefits for them.

Farmer organisations faced a major challenge in their struggle for food sovereignty and family-based agro-ecology that was both health- and environment-friendly, said Zainal Fuat, the programme's phase 2 co-ordinator for farmer organisation La Via Campesina.

The programme's phase 2 involves 895 farmer organisations in 15 countries with an estimated membership of 15 million farmers.-VNA