Magsasaka at Siyentipiko para sa Pag-unlad ng Agrikultura (MASIPAG) joined the protest held earlier in fromt of the Department of Agriculture and led by peasant groups in commemoration of the fourth year of the implementation of the Rice Tarrification Law.
MASIPAG asserts that the Rice Tariffication Law (RTL) will never address food insecurity in the Philippines; rather, it will further advance the problem by implementing lopsided trade agreements and letting corporate solutions in the form of policies and environment-contaminating creations such as GM yellow rice superfluously solve it.
The massive importation negatively affecting our farmers enabled by our government exposes various ills in our food systems. Instead of providing institutional support and pursuing policy reforms and actions to further develop our rice industry and food self-sufficiency, our government still relies on imports which benefits no farmer or consumer in the country. In fact, our agriculture remains backward due to persisting landlordism, land-grabbing, and bias toward corporations.
We urge the government to finally repeal the law on rice tariffication, pursue and develop farmer-led local production, halt projects threatening our rice diversity such as the Golden Rice project and focus instead on the genuine development of the rice industry with farmers’ rights and welfare at its center.
MASIPAG farmers’ experience shows that food security can be achieved using sustainable and appropriate technologies and techniques, which can be further upscaled with genuine pro-farmer policies. Furthermore, we likewise call for the immediate resolution of the land struggles suffered by small-scale farmers across the country; only when farmers have access to and control over this resource can we truly attain food security.