‘World Without Poison’ Video

Click the image to watch the video.

MASIPAG is sharing Pesticides Action Network (PAN) Philippines’ video to commemorate No Pesticide Use Day, and the victims of the Bhopal Gas Tragedy. On December 3 until 4, 1984, more half a million people from Bhopal, India were exposed when Methyl Isocyanate and other gases leaked from the Union Carbide India Limited gas plant. More than 4000 people died from the tragic incident who still awaits justice to be finally served.

The video features Dr. Romeo Quijano, toxicologist and president of PAN Philippines, and Alfie Pulumbarit, Advocacy Officer of MASIPAG. #

A Tribute to Mario “Tata Maca” Denito

Born in Botolan, Zambales, Tata Maca was one of the key farmer leaders who figured in the expansion and consolidation of the MASIPAG network in the early 90s. He was elected as a member of the MASIPAG Board of Trustees from mid-1990s to early 2000s and he was the Area Coordinator for the Central Luzon cluster from 2008 to 2014. Tata Maca then shared his vast knowledge and experience in rice breeding and biodiversity conservation when became the Farm Manager in the MASIPAG National Back-up Farm in Nueva Ecija from 2014 until his retirement  in 2016.

Tata Maca was among the most prolific rice breeder within the MASIPAG network, with some of his farmer-bred lines adapting to different communities.

You will be missed, Tata Maca! You will remain in the hearts of the many farmers that you have served and inspired!

Video Proceeding of Vietnam Regional GMO Workshop

MASIPAG is sharing the video proceeding of the Regional Sharing on GMO and Local Biodiversity spearheaded by the CENDI held in Hanoi, Vietnam.

The video presented the current problems of Vietnamese farmers engaging in GM corn and the expansion of the said crop in Vietnam. The conference hopes to discuss the problem of GM adoption in countries in Southeast Asia and craft ways on how to put forward a system of agriculture that is sustainable, safe and respects the rights of farmers and indigenous peoples on seeds and resources. The conference was participated by farmer groups and sectoral organizations from Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Philippines, Thailand and Indonesia.

Watch the video here.

Regional Workshop on PAR and Food Sovereignty

Loikaw, Kayah State, Myanmar – Five countries, 11 organizations, 21 individuals. Despite the diversity, participants of the second Regional Learning and Exchange Platform workshop found unity and common grounds especially in the light of similar plights and conditions of the resource-poor farmers in their respective countries.

The Regional Learning and Exchange Platfrom for Facilitating Change Processes towards Food Sovereignty (RLEP) is a three-year series of workshops that “deals with acquiring or deepening concepts…of participatory methods for facilitation, analysis and dialogue, values and skills to support grassroots initiatives and movement building in the frame of food sovereignty.” Participants reflect on, interact, and share with their peers from different organizations and countries aiming to further develop their own respective practices and processes in attaining food sovereignty.

The recent RLEP workshop focused on “appreciating and enhancing indigenous knowledge and participatory processes for action and transformation, through the use of Participatory Action Research (PAR).”

Participants from Myanmar, Cambodia, Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam shared their experiences and insights on people-led development (PLD) for food sovereignty. They also visited the villages of War Thaw Khu and Kwaingan in Demoso Township where discussions on food security and food sovereignty were held. The community visits served to deepen the appreciation and inspire both the communities and the participants to intensify participatory processess to address the local realities on food security and food sovereignty.

Issues such as landgrabbing and land rights, and insights on community organizing were discussed during the peer learning sessions. That the countries face similar struggles made it apparent that regional unity and networking, which the RLEP is able to provide, is essential in addressing these issues and coming up with tangible, appropriate and community-led alternatives.

MASIPAG is among the participating organizations in the RLEP. The RLEP is supported by Misereor in coordination with Pesticides Action Network Asia Pacific (PANAP).#

MASIPAG farmers shine bright in the 19th OWC

Greater Noida, India – Organic farming associations the world over joined the 19th IFOAM Organic World Congress (OWC), where significant policy issues as well as organizational matters were discussed. Ten MASIPAG farmers and staff actively participated in the OWC, as well as the various pre-conferences by different self-organized structures such as the General Assembly of the Intercontinental Network of Organic Farmers Organizations (INOFO).

INOFO General Assembly

The Intercontinental Network of Organic Farmers Organization(INOFO) is the infra-structure belonging specifically to organic farmers organizations all over the globe. INOFO was created to give farmers a louder voice in the global platform to influence decision making and policy change. MASIPAG has been a part of INOFO since 2014 as the Southeast Asia Convenor and Secretary and was again elected this year. Mrs. Virginia Nazareno, Masipag farmer from Quezon province was selected to become one of the conveners of INOFO for Southeast Asia. Mrs. Nazareno, or Nay Virgie as she is most fondly known,is a farmer-leader from Kiday Community Farmers Association (KCFA) in Gen. Nakar, Quezon. As convenor, MASIPAG will be playing a key role in strengthening partnership and communication among the organic farmers organizations in Southeast Asia.

19th OWC

From November 9-11, the Organic World Congress (OWC) was held at the Indian Exposition Mart. The colorful event commenced with Seeds Festival which featured a wide diversity of local seeds of rice, maize, wheat, millet, vegetables, cotton and many others. Six MASIPAG farmers shared their experiences and practices on organic and sustainable farming, which were widely lauded by the other participants in the congress. Weng Buena, PGS Coordinator of MASIPAG shared the Philippines’ experience in PGS and how various organizations and even local governments are working together to further develop PGS in the country.

IFOAM-Organics International General Assembly

The IFOAM GA serves to provide organizational updates on membership, policy discussion such as organic standards, and discussion on PGS regulations. Members, which include MASIPAG, are entitled to vote on new policies, resolutions, election of World Board members and other important matters.

Agro-ecology and Farmer-bred Paddy Workshop

After the IFOAM activities, MASIPAG travelled to Kolkata for a workshop organized by SWISSAID, SWISSAID-India at DRCSC, a local NGO. During the workshop, Nay Virgie, along with the MASIPAG staff, demonstrated how to breed rice among the participants which come from India, Tanzania, Myanmar and Switzerland. The two-day workshop was productive and resulted to possible partnership and collaboration among the partner organizations of SWISSAID.

Overall, the activities held in India have been productive and positive — MASIPAG farmers and their practices inspired other delegates from different places, and also served to boost the morale of the farmers. The positive response of other farmers and their organizations to MASIPAG reaffirms the soundness of farmer-led strategies and farmer empowerment in achieving food security and food sovereignty.

Check out more photos during the 19th OWC here and here.