Monthly Archives: July 2013

MASIPAG Asserts Small Farmers as Front and Center of Organic Agriculture

Iloilo City – As opening salvo to its 8th General Assembly, MASIPAG held a one-day conference to highlight the important and central role of small-scale farmers in the development of genuine organic agriculture. Farmer-leaders from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao shared their experiences with MASIPAG sustainable agriculture, and how it has helped them realized food security and empowerment.

Tranquilino Pillado, Jr (Antique), Mamerto Pado (Camarines Sur) and Maximo Narvasa (Bukidnon), MASIPAG farmer-leaders who shared the impact of sustainable agriculture in their households, organizations and community. They are living examples that in the hands and leadership of empowered farmers, food security is possible through organic agriculture.

Tranquilino Pillado, Jr (Antique), Mamerto Pado (Camarines Sur) and Maximo Narvasa (Bukidnon), MASIPAG farmer-leaders who shared the impact of sustainable agriculture in their households, organizations and community. They are living examples that in the hands and leadership of empowered farmers, food security is possible through organic agriculture.

Dr. Chito Medina, National Coordinator of MASIPAG and NGO representative to the National Organic Agriculture Board, stated that the lack of “conviction” from DA itself impedes the growth of organic agriculture.

“It is sad to see that many staff of the DA, including agriculture extension workers (under LGU) are not yet convinced in organic agriculture. Even if they are convinced, the government has no substantial technologies that can be disseminated.” According to Dr. Medina, farmer-practitioners, people’s organizations and NGOs are the ones who have developed and are practicing proven organic agriculture technologies. “The organic agriculture program is negated by contrary programs of the DA like balanced fertilization, chemical farming and fertilizer subsidies, and worse, the promotion of genetically modified organisms (GMOs)”.

Dr. Medina stressed that organic agriculture can be a potent tool for rural development if organic products are geared first and foremost towards local food security.

While there are LGUs that have yet to fully implement a genuine OA program in their communities, there have also been positive partnerships with select LGUs, such as the Quezon province in Southern Luzon.

Mr. Roberto Gajo, provincial agriculturist of the Quezon province shared their experience in upholding and implementing a farmer-led organic agriculture.  The use of participatory guarantee system (PGS) in the province ensures that more small-scale producers such as the MASIPAG farmers are able to enjoy full support from the local government, which includes market access, promotion and many others.

PGS implementation in the Quezon province involves the partnership among the provincial government, MASIPAG and University of the Philippines Los Banos. Quezon has been identified as the first province in the country to adapt the PGS as a certification system of organic products.

The conference also served as venue to the launching of the “Socio-economic Impacts of Genetically Modified Corn in the Philippines,” a study on the 10-year commercialization of GM corn and its economic impacts among poor farmers.

The conference was attended by more that 150 farmers, NGO workers, representatives from the regional Department of Agriculture, as well as students, academe and media representatives.#

MASIPAG-Visayas holds their 17th Regional Assembly

Picture 682 (1024x565)

MASIPAG in the Visayas held its 17th Regional Assembly last June 12-14, 2013
at the MASIPAG Research and Ecological Farm in So. Tambolon, Brgy. San
Nicolas, San Dionisio, Iloilo with the theme: “Mapinadayonon nga Organikong
Agrikultura kag Hugot nga Pagbinuligay, Kadalag-an sang mga Mangungumang
MASIPAG.”

Around 80 delegates from member POs, NGOs and scientists from different
provinces actively participated in the techno-sharing and discussion led by
farmer-presenters and partner scientists from Central Philippine University
and Filamer Christian University. Diversified organic seeds and planting
materials were exhibited and exchanged among farmer-participants.

The Regional Assembly likewise celebrated traditional Visayan culture. The
Visayan-way of cooking local foods using local vegetables and freshwater
shells combined with coconut wine “bahalina” were a great attraction during
lunch of the 2nd day program. Cultural contests such as poster-making, poem
and song composition are joyful ways of strengthening the solidarity of the
Visayan network members especially the farmers.

The organizational meeting was highlighted by presentation of PCB and RPMT
regional reports, review and amendment of the by-laws, and endorsement of
new member-POs and NGOs in the network. A new set of Regional Project
Management Team (RPMT) members was elected. The new set of RPMT members for
2013-2016 are Elizabeth Cuenca from KABBUHIAN, Tranquilino Pillado Jr. from
BACUFA, and PDG representing the NGOs, and the Regional Coordinator.

One of the main activities in the assembly was paying tribute to our dear Ka
Pecs, the first MASIPAG Project manager, rice breeder and seed curator who
died at age 80 last May 27, 2013.

Media Roundup – Bt-talong Media Forum

Last week, MASIPAG along with alliance Resist Agrochem TNCs! held a media forum to discuss the victory and challenges of the Court of Appeals ruling against Bt-talong. The appellate court granted the Writ of Kalikasan and ordered for the permanent stopping of Bt-talong field trials in the country. The petition was filed in May 2012 by Greenpeace Philippines, MASIPAG, and other organizations and notable individuals.

As Bt-talong proponents led by the University of the Philippines Los Banos have already filed three Motions for Reconsideration, the alliance called for the Department of Agriculture to uphold the CA.

Dr. Chito Medina, National Coordinator of MASIPAG called for the various sectors to maximize the favorable court ruling to further intensify the resistance against Bt-talong and other GMOs, which include Golden Rice and GM Corn.

Click the following links for the coverage for the Bt-talong Media Forum:

Bt talong field testing: A boon or health threat?

Petitioners counter pressures to reverse courth ruling vs BT eggplant

Consumers warned  vs. Bt talong, as CA urged to uphold landmark decision