Monthly Archives: October 2017

Learning from the Seed Mothers of Amunda Village adivassis Gardua

Odisha, India – Members of the Stop Golden Rice Network held a learning exchange visit in India to learn about traditional rice conservation, indigenous knowledge systems and sustainable agricultural practices such as agro-ecology and organic agriculture. The participants included farmers and NGO staff from the Philippines, Indonesia, India and Bangladesh.

One of the highlights of the activity was the field visit to Amunda Village among the Seed Mothers. The small village have traditionally practiced seed exchange, seed conservation and sustainable agriculture led mainly by women, known as seed mothers.

Seed mothers are designated by the tribe as the community’s seed keepers. They are depositories of rich agricultural biodiversity knowledge. They also facilitate village meetings to plan and ensure the success of annual seed exchanges within and among various villages.

One seed mother leads the seed and biodiversity conservation of 10 to 15 villages.

The small village of Amunda comprised of 53 households and has more than 30 rice varities, 50 kinds of millets/pulses, hundreds of vegetables and rootcrops which are grown thru out the year. The grids made by farmers is a biodiversity map representing crops harvested in a specific season. Seeds are also seen as sacred among the community. As one seed mother has said, ” seeds are the gifts of the Gods and not from you”.

This gathering is part of strengthening the ranks of small farmers and consumers in their fight to preserve and protect traditional varieties, to uphold farmers right to seeds and stop the introduction of genetically modified crops, specifically Golden Rice in their farms.

Click the link to our Facebook photo album to see more of the colorful and abundant seed collections of the Seed Mothers. #

MASIPAG Statement on World ‘Hunger’ Day 2017

As governments all over the world commemorate World Food Day, we the Magsasaka at Siyentipiko para sa Pag-unlad ng Agrikutlura (MASIPAG) is in solidarity with millions of Filipino farmers that are currently suffering from persistent hunger and malnutrition.

Amidst a world of plenty brought by increased food production, farmers and their families continue to suffer chronic hunger due to the commodified, market-driven and industrialized agriculture system. Based on recent data, about 11.3 million Filipinos are undernourished (FAO, The State of Food Security in the World, 2014). In the first quarter of 2016, 13.7 percent or 3.1 million Filipino families experienced hunger (SWS survey). Add to this the increasing rate of malnutrition among children aged 0-2 years, which is said to be the worst chronic malnutrition in the last 10 years according to the 2015 Updating of the Nutritional Status of Filipino Children study done by the FNRI.

In stark contrast, food insecurity is high in food producing areas, specifically among the farming sector. Farmers are obliged to sell most of their produce, which includes food supposedly allotted for the family’s consumption, in order to purchase costly seeds and chemicals being peddled by huge agrochemical companies. Farmer-saved seeds, which are supposedly free and sustainable, are seen as competition to privately-owned seeds. Private ownership of seeds is further strengthened by unfair trade agreements such as the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) which will force member countries to adopt UPOV of 1991, making seed-saving practices a criminal act. Add to this the cheap imported agricultural products being dumped in our country directly competing with our farmers’ produce.

While the long term solution to problems on malnutrition is increasing food diversity, sustainable food production and addressing landlessness and poverty, the government and its institution such as PhilRice instead pushes for the adoption of genetically modified crops such as Golden Rice as a band-aid solution to the prevailing problem Vitamin A deficiency. Golden Rice, a Syngenta-owned genetically modified rice touted as an answer to Vitamin A deficiency, is but a distraction to the farmers and people’s call for safe, sufficient and affordable food.

In spite of these challenges, small farmers are now slowly rediscovering their wealth and strength overshadowed by promises of good harvest and income being peddled by corporations. Thru sustainable food production and farmer empowerment, farmers are gaining more control over their resources, knowledge and production.

Safe, Sustainable and Affordable Food for All!

No to Corporate Control in Agriculture!
No to GMOs! No to Golden Rice!