Farmers rise against climate imperialism, forward farmer-led agroecology in asserting climate justice

January 18, 2023

by MASIPAG National Office

As the world calls for global day of action for climate justice, farmer-led network Magsasaka at Siyentipiko para sa Pag-unlad ng Agrikultura (MASIPAG) is one with the peasants of the world in achieving climate justice by fighting climate imperialism.

While the peoples’ delegations of the global south participating in #COP27 are currently fighting for the definition of #ClimateFinance that will truly serve the peasant farmers who mostly bear the brunt of climate catastrophe, on the other hand, wealthy individuals and imperialist countries responsible for the acceleration of climate catastrophe push for a vague and non-committal definition, further unraveling their agenda in COP27 in maintaining climate imperialism and be business as usual while millions of people suffer from climate catastrophe.

More than the assertion of financial reparation from these historical polluters that will supposedly address the climate crises, MASIPAG farmers call for the pro-nature and pro-people transformation of agriculture through farmer-led agroecology.

In particular, farmers of MASIPAG Luzon who held their 19th Regional Assembly with the theme “Isulong ang agroekolohiya sa paggiit ng hustisyang pangklima! Konsolidahin ang ating mga samahan upang ang mga balakid ay mapangibabawan” highlighted the numerous challenges faced by their farmer-members primarily caused by the more frequent and stronger typhoons, development aggressions and shrinking civic spaces. In the three-day assembly, MASIPAG Luzon farmers collectively discussed the many ways forward in facing the climate crisis particularly through asserting climate justice by forwarding farmer-led agroecology.

In the year 2022 alone, the Philippines was devastated by super typhoons, tropical cyclones and depressions reapings billions in dollars of damages in agriculture and leaving peasant farmers poorer than ever.

While indeed agriculture and climate crises are impacting each other to an extraordinary extent. The truth is that the dominant industrial and profit-maximizing agriculture being maintained by transnational corporations like Syngenta and Monsanto backed by wealthy individuals and imperialist countries like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, is one of the major emitters of greenhouse gasses and is in this regard one of the major problems.

Yet, agriculture outside of the corporate mantra is appropriate to absorb and store climate-wrecking gasses and hence, it can take an active part in limiting global warming. Huge potential can be seen for reducing the emittance of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide but only if we transform it into a farmer-led agriculture by adapting farmer-led agroecology practices anchored in food sovereignty.

For instance, farmer-led agroecology treats natural resources, the climate, and people in a more diligent and just way. Unlike GMO crops that are built for monocropping and highly dependent on chemical inputs, farmer-led agroecology has the potential to provide more resilient food production through its passive strengthening and development of sustainable agro-ecosystems through crop diversification.

For decades, farmers, especially MASIPAG farmers have been practicing farmer-led agroecology and thus have long articulated the systemic and systematic solution to climate change, yet they still remain in the dark when it comes to system wide consultations and decision making in addressing the climate crisis. Worst of all, they are the ones who mostly bear the brunt of it.

The promises of food sovereignty and farmer-led agroecology as an alternative pathway to freedom from grinding poverty, hunger and climate crisis is not only anchored in scientific basis but also honed in years of movement and solidarity building spearheaded by farmers themselves. Thus farmers should be the one leading the way.

For this year’s Global Day of Action for Climate Justice, MASIPAG again reiterates that only through a strong and broad people’s movement asserting our sovereignty in food and land and pushing for pro-people alternatives such as farmer-led agroecology can we address the present climate crisis. Likewise, we are in solidarity with the peasant farmers of the world in resisting climate imperialism and asserting genuine climate justice.

November marks another series of conversations and critical engagements regarding promises, policies and directions regarding climate actions of different countries and economies as the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 27) takes the spotlight. Leaders will gather in Egypt placing key issues from climate finance, mitigation, adaptation to oceans at the frontlines of the expected debates.