Category Archives: News & Updates

Nueva Ecija farmers, sectors call to stop Golden Rice field tests

About 200 farmers, consumers, church groups, organic advocates and other sectors convened in the city of Cabanatuan to calling the Department of Agriculture to deny the application of open field test of Golden Rice in Munoz, Nueva Ecija and in San Mateo, Isabela. The activity also commemorates the fourth year anniversary when 400 strong delegation of farmers and other sectors uprooted the field testing of Golden Rice in Pili, Camarines Sur. Golden Rice, a genetically engineered rice is seen as a ploy of Agrochemical TNCs to control the seed industry through GMOs. Currently two applications on Golden Rice are submitted at the DA-BPI and awaits approval.

Click here for photos of the activity.

No to Golden Rice! No to GMOs!

No to Corporate Control in Agriculture!

Safe, Sufficient and Affordable Food for All!

Food and Land, Not Bombs and Martial Law

Statement of MASIPAG MINDANAO on the extension of Martial Law in Mindanao

The extension of Martial Law (ML) in Mindanao is a brazen attack against the Filipino people especially the Moro and the Lumad farmers across our island. While the Duterte administration insists that this will end terrorism, the Moro and the Lumads in the grassroots are much terrorized by state sponsored aerial bombardments, harassments and arbitrary arrests of farmer leaders.

Prior to the declaration of Martial Law in Mindanao, human rights abuses are being wantonly carried out by state forces and paramilitary troops. After the declaration of ML, more abuses have been documented. Even MASIPAG member People’s Organizations (POs) experienced state terrorism first hand.

In Compostela Valley Province, four farmer-leaders of Compostela Farmers Association (CFA) and a driver were arbitrarily arrested and charged with trumped up cases. In Monkayo town, officers of Monkayo Farmers Association (MoFA) were held by an army unit, but were fortunately released hours after intimidation. In Bukidnon and North Cotabato provinces, at least six member POs of MASIPAG experienced restrictions to attend to their farm.

Even in Davao City, since March this year, aerial bombardments caused series of evacuation in the communities of Marilog and Calinan Districts that affected at least three of our member POs.

The series of mass evacuations resulted not just displacement of people but also displacements of their livelihood. Since the Martial Law declaration, the frequent evacuation have disrupted farm activities and decimated important farm resources such as livestock. Their farmlands start to become barren when they are unable to tend them, as military and militia men restrict the movements of the farmers. Many communities remain in military hamlet.

With the extension of Martial Law in Mindanao until December 31, 2017, we can already expect a decrease in agricultural productivity, especially among the resource poor farmers in the countryside. As the extension of Martial Law employs more and more aerial bombardments, it is expected that more and more farmlands will be destroyed by bombs.

Today, as the president delivers his second State of the Nation Address, we farmers and scientists appeal to our government, especially to our president to stop dropping bombs in our farmlands and communities. The extension of ML will not do any good to our country. We need to continue to till our farms in order to feed this hungry nation. We need land and food, not bombs and carnage.#

Trial Farms in Mindanao Continue to Grow

MASIPAG’s Trials farms have a minimum of 50 Traditional Rice Varieties and MASIPAG rice, and are living community seedbanks. Farmers study and select adaptive varieties from the trial farms and design cultural management practices suited to their particular agro-climatic conditions.

The farmers observe the characteristics of the different varieties and selections to assess them for suitability to the local environmental conditions and pest resistance. The top ten performing locally adapted varieties are then chosen for planting.

An important spin-off from the community level organizing is that the mosaic effect of the different neighbouring varieties creates a barrier to pests and diseases because of the differential resistance between varieties. The trial farm involves no cost to the farmers except for the collective work required for its maintenance. By planting several varieties on their farms, farmers also benefit from the different rates of plant maturity. Harvest is spread over a longer period allowing the farmer to spread out the work, rather than having to hire in costly outside labor.#

Job Opportunity at MASIPAG

MASIPAG (Magsasaka at Siyentipiko para sa Pag-unlad ng Agrikultura, Farmer-Scientist Partnership), is a nationwide network of farmers’ organizations, scientists and non-government organizations working to empower resource-poor Filipino farmers through their control of seeds and biological resources, agricultural production and technologies, and associated knowledge.

Our regional office in Luzon is looking for a dynamic, self-driven individual who is committed to make his/her contribution to development work.

We are looking for a Program Coordinator on Climate Change Resilience who can assume leadership in planning, coordination and operationalization of the component activities of the Climate Change Resiliency Program. He or she will work in close coordination with MASIPAG Area Coordinators and the local partner organizations and people’s organizations (POs) on the ground.

Specific tasks include:

1. Initiating the planning and implementation of the program component activities and discussing results and assessment with the immediate supervisor;
2. Conducting needs assessment of the POs and their communities and facilitating the implementation of climate change resilience building interventions;
3. Assisting or guiding the POs in planning for the development of community-wide sustainable and resilient farming practices and in the assessment of the same;
4. Initiating linkage building and resource mobilization with capable groups, organizations or institutions in support to the needs of assisted communities and POs;
5. Innovating ways in improving the effectiveness and efficiency of the program implementation;
6. Enhancing the functioning of the committee system of the POs and strengthen the practice of Bayanihan system;
7. Monitoring and documenting successful resilient practices and experiences of assisted communities and their organization;
8. Preparing and submitting required reports to immediate supervisor;
9. Performing other tasks as may be delegated by immediate supervisor.

Accountability: Reports to the Regional Coordinator

Interested applicants may send their application letter and resume to masluz@masipag.org addressed to:

Mr. Eugene Britanico
Regional Coordinator
MASIPAG Luzon

#

Training Mindanao’s Next Breeders

Davao City – MASIPAG successfully concluded a rice breeding training among its members and partners to further step up the initiatives for food security and assert farmers’ control over genetic resources.

“We borrowed what we know about rice breeding from Ka Pecs, we are just here to share it to you,” says Berbardo M. Portillo, an experienced rice breeder from Surigao del sur, as he shared his expectations for the rice breeders training.

Perfecto “Ka Pecs” Vicente – one of Masipag’s pillars, was well cherished by those who knew him and was loved by those who share his passion for uplifting the lives of resource poor farmers. His most ardent admirers are the farmers he trained in rice breeding, Bernardo one of them.

“We are blessed to have with us the trainers who were trained by Ka Pecs himself,” says Lucille Ortiz referring to the trainers, one of them is Precila “Diday” Gomez, who brought with her the actual visual aides used by Ka Pecs.

“He would be so proud” adds Ortiz.

The training participants, fifteen all in all, are Masipag farmers, representatives of partner institutions and local governments who have successfully established trial farms in their respective localities. Their rice farms are under various stages of development, some of which are on the cusp of mass production.

“We are happy to be attending this training,” says Marelyn of Bunga Coconut Farmers Association of Lanuza Surigao Del Sur. She says that the breeding techniques taught during that training would be a valuable tool for them to develop and improve the genetic qualities of their rice stocks so that they would no longer pay huge sums of money for hybrid varieties peddled to them by traders.

“This is a huge breakthrough for Mindanao,” exclaims Leo XL Fuentes, Mindanao’s Regional Coordinator. “This is the first time that we, as the new Masipag Mindanao will be having this training,” he adds. “This training would not have been made possible if not for the farmers who have painstakingly endured the hardships of Masipag’s organization problems and persevered in their collective efforts to establish their trial farms,” Fuentes adds.

Fuentes shares that providing farmers with the ability to bring greater genetic diversity to their rice stocks through participatory rice breeding could offer significant layers of protection against genetic erosion and ultimately against climate change as farmers can now improve rice traits which are more responsive to various climatic conditions such as drought, flood and salinity.

“Being dubbed as the food basket of the country, Mindanao’s agricultural economy would greatly benefit from farmers who are empowered, driven and have a high technical competence as it charts a more sustainable future moving forward,” Fuentes adds.

Farmer-led rice breeding has been one of the core programs of MASIPAG. Through rice breeding, farmers are able to exercise their control over the genetic resources they use in their farms. As of 2016, MASIPAG has a total collection of 506 farmer-bred rice and around 70 farmer rice breeders.

For more photos of the training, check out MASIPAG in Mindanao’s Facebook page. #