Category Archives: Issue: GMOs

Campaign against Golden Rice and other GMOs in the Philippines

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The Asian Farmers’ Association for Sustainable Rural Development (AFA) joins the South East Asia Regional Initiatives for Community Empowerment (SEARICE) and other network partners in the campaign against the commercialization of Golden Rice, as well as other GMOs, in the Philippines.

In line with its desire to achieve rice self-sufficiency for the country, the Philippine government has declared 2013 as the National Year of Rice. While this may be good on the surface, it is quite alarming that part of the efforts to achieve rice self-sufficiency involves the commercialization of Golden Rice, a genetically modified rice variety that is said to be vitamin A-enriched.

Continue reading Campaign against Golden Rice and other GMOs in the Philippines

In the News: World’s biggest rice exporter sets GE-free rice policy

Manila, Philippines – Greenpeace today called on the Philippine government to follow the example of Thailand, the world’s top rice exporter, and commit to keep rice production free of genetically-modified organisms (GMOs).  The call came as farmers and environmental activists in Thailand celebrated Thai Rice and Farmers’ Day commending the country’s GE-free rice policy.

The GE-free rice policy, a key strategy in Thailand’s Rice Masterplan, not only protects rice farmers and consumers, but also safeguards Thailand’s thousands-year old rice heritage from the inherent risks posed by genetically-engineered (GE) crops.  The strategy is widely seen as an acknowledgement embedded in government policy that GE crops are unnecessary and a risk to sustainable future for farming.

“This strategy gives Southeast Asia’s rice farmers and consumers reason to celebrate — and it’s a blow for unscrupulous GMO crop promoters.  A major global rice producer and exporter acknowledges that GMOs are a bad option for rice production.  The Department of Agriculture should follow the Thai example and declare their commitment to keep rice farming sustainable and rice crops free of environmental and health risks associated with GE crops,” said Daniel Ocampo, Sustainable Agriculture Campaigner for Greenpeace Southeast Asia.

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News Digest: Herbicide-Resistant and Pest-Resistant Genetically Modified Seeds Incompatible With Sustainable Agriculture

Two possible uses of genetically modified seeds, herbicide-resistant and pest-resistant, both lead to unsustainable agriculture. Herbicide-resistant seeds may be able to withstand heavy application of chemicals and increase yields, but these substances will end up in the soil and water systems and affect plants, animals, and humans. Pest-resistant seeds, on the other hand, may reduce the need for application of chemicals, but they will also restrict biodiversity and can contaminate nearby fields with genetically modified cross-pollination. Further, the impact of genetically modified foods are still unknown, while genetically modified seeds leads to economic determination of our ecosystem as plants get patented by a few companies that control them.

Source: Just Means, January 17, 2011

In the News: Scientist Warns RP on BT Eggplant Risk

MANILA, Philippines – The government has been advised to consider the risks of the field testing of eggplants that have been genetically modified to create its own poison to kill pests that affect crop yielding of eggplants of up to 70 percent in Asian countries.

Dr. Pushpa Mittra Bhargava, a recipient of India’s third highest civilian honorary title Padma Bhushan, flew to the Philippines to conduct an information drive, along with non-government organizations, to warn the public of the danger of Bt eggplant.

Instead of embracing the genetically modified crop, Bhargava said it would be of greater advantage if farmers would embrace organic agriculture and integrated pest management as means to eradicate the fruit and shoot borer.

The Philippines is the second country to be introduced to Bt eggplant.

Read the full story at Manila Bulletin

In the News: RP’s 1st GM eggplant soon ready for commercialization

(Despite protests from farmer groups like PAKISAMA and other sectors over potential health risks, irreversible impact on the environment, and social equity issues, the Philippine government is set to commercialize the first genetically-modified (GM) eggplant in the country. — Admin)

MANILA, Philippines – One more experimental cropping season and the country’s first genetically modified (GM) or biotechnology eggplant is set for commercial production.

The penultimate phase of the scientific process of developing the new crop, done at an experimental farm of the University of the Philippines Los Baños-Institute of Plant Breeding (UPLB-IPB), was completed recently.

The UPLB-IPB plot is one of three sites in Luzon where the research project on the development of an eggplant resistant to fruit and shoot borer (FSB) is being conducted. FSB, the most destructive pest attacking eggplant in the Philippines and other Asian countries, can cause yield losses from 51 to 73 percent.

The GM or Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) eggplants planted in Sta. Maria (Pangasinan) and Bicol State University of Agriculture in Pili, Camarines Sur, have also been harvested.

Read the full story at PhilStar.com

In the News: GM Crops – Asian Farmers Have Their Say

(GM public debate and propaganda war continue. health, environment, social justice issues. small sus ag farmers vs giant biotech/agrochem companies. who’s winning? — Admin)

Edwin Paraluman remembers the skepticism of fellow farmers when he introduced genetically modified (GM) corn to his small, three-hectare farm in General Santos City, in the Philippines, five years ago.

“But even in its early growth, the anti-insect effect of the GM crop encouraged me to persist,” said Paraluman, adding that the dramatically increased crops have stunned other farmers.

Read the full story at globalenvision.org

In the News: Haitian Farmers Reject Monsanto Donation

The Peasant Movement of Papay, a group of Haitian farmers, has committed to burning 60,000 seed sacks (475 tons) of hybrid corn and vegetable seeds donated by Monsanto in the wake of the devastating earthquake earlier this year.

Peasant Movement of Papay leader Chavannes Jean-Baptiste called Monsanto’s donation “a new earthquake” and called for a march to protest the corporation’s presence in Haiti for World Environment Day.

The National Peasant Movement of the Congress of Papay sent an open letter on May 14 signed by Jean-Baptiste. The letter called Monsanto’s presence in Haiti, “a very strong attack on small agriculture, on farmers, on biodiversity, on Creole seeds…, and on what is left of our environment in Haiti.”

In addition to MPNKP and MPP, other Haitian social movements have advocated in opposition to agribusiness imports of seeds and food. The groups have expressed strong concern regarding the importation of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) as they undermine local production of local seed stocks.

Read the full story

MEDIA ADVISORY: Press Conference by PAKISAMA, AFA, SEARICE, NO2GMO

WHAT: Press Conference of Isidoro “Boy” Ancog, Filipino farmer who went on hunger strike at FAO Biotech Meeting to protest imposition of biotechnology, especially GMOs, on developing countries

WHEN: March 8, 2010, 10:00 AM

WHERE: Max’s Restaurant, Quezon Circle

Filipino farmer ends hunger strike, exposes pro-GMO agenda of FAO meeting

Filipino farmer, Isidoro “Boy” Ancog,” who went on a hunger strike during the FAO biotech conference in Guadalajara, Mexico City on March 1-4, 2010, ended his protest action on March 4, 2010, the last day of the conference, and is coming home on Sunday, March 7.
“It’s over. I will be flying home early tomorrow to hug my family. I also miss my ducks, my garden and my rice farm, which was hit by El Nino,” Ancog wrote in an e-mail sent to friends and supporters in the Philippines.

Ancog, began his hunger strike last March 2 after intervening in a plenary session of the 10th FAO international technical conference on Agricultural Biotechnologies in Developing Countries (ABDC-10). Ancog objected to the fact that the Conference appeared to be massively promoting the commercial use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), as the most viable solution to poverty and hunger in developing countries.

Continue reading MEDIA ADVISORY: Press Conference by PAKISAMA, AFA, SEARICE, NO2GMO

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: GMO imposition on farmers denounced in FAO biotech conference

Filipino farmer ends 3-day hunger strike

Guadalajara, Mexico, March 4, 2010 — The Filipino farmer who went on hunger strike during the FAO biotech conference in Guadalajara, Mexico City being held on March 1-4, 2010, ended his protest action on March 4, 2010, the last day of the conference.

“It’s over. I will be flying home early tomorrow to hug my family. I also miss my ducks, my garden and my rice farm, which was hit by El Nino,” Isidoro “Boy” Ancog, an organic farmer from Bohol, Philippines, wrote in an e-mail sent to his friends and supporters in the Philippines.

Ancog announced the end of his hunger strike during the last day of the conference, where the conference report was to be adopted.

“[…] I formally lift my hunger strike. But rest assured that we will continue with our advocacy of producing safe and healthy food in our fields, which we will all enjoy, as one people,” he said in his speech.

Ancog made his intervention when reference was made to the paragraph 24 of the report, which states that “A representative from civil society expressed concern that biotechnologies would be imposed on farmers in developing countries and could adversely impact the livelihoods of small holder farmers.”

(Photo by Ditdit Peligrina)

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Continue reading FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: GMO imposition on farmers denounced in FAO biotech conference

BISAD Statement of Support to Hunger Strike against GMOs

BISAD Supports the Hunger Strike of Boy Ancog against GMOs at the ABDC10 in Guadalajara, Mexico

The Bohol Initiators for Sustainable Agriculture and Development (BISAD) is a multi-sectoral provincial network composed of farmers’ groups, NGOs, consumers, local government offices, and business enterprises that promotes the development and spread of organic agriculture in the province of Bohol, The Philippines. BISAD was a key player in making Bohol the first GMO-free province in the Philippines way back in 2003 when the Provincial Government passed a legislation prohibiting the entry of GMOs into the province for health and environmental reasons, and to protect Bohol’s biodiversity.

On the occasion of conference on Agricultural Biotechnologies in Developing Countries (ABDC10) organized by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in Guadalajara, Mexico, BISAD expresses its support to fellow Boholano, Isidore “Boy” Ancog, who represents the Asian Farmers’ Alliance (AFA) and is currently staging a hunger strike at the conference venue in protest of the possible endorsement by the Conference and the FAO of GMOs for use by farmers in food and agriculture production. Like Boy, we do not believe that GMOs will solve the problems of low agricultural productivity, low rural incomes and widespread hunger across the world, especially in developing countries. Instead, we believe that GMOs exacerbate these problems by, among others, increasing agro-chemical use among farmers (through herbicide tolerant GMO crops), aggravating insect pest immunity (through pest resistance GMOs), upsetting natural flow and evolution of biodiversity (through GMO contamination) undermining and threatening farmers’ use of seeds (through application of intellectual property rights by corporations on GM crops), etc.

Continue reading BISAD Statement of Support to Hunger Strike against GMOs

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – Filipino farmer goes on hunger strike during FAO biotech conference

Guadalajara, Mexico City, March 4, 2010 – A Filipino farmer attending a biotechnology conference organized by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) went on hunger strike the other day in protest of what civil society organizations perceive to be a heavy bias of the event towards the use of genetically modified organisms in agriculture.

Isidoro “Boy” Ancog, an organic farmer from the province of Bohol in the Philippines, declared the hunger strike during the second day of the 10th FAO international technical conference entitled “Agricultural biotechnologies in developing countries: Options and opportunities in crops, forestry, livestock, fisheries and agro-industry to face the challenges of food insecurity and climate change (ABDC-10)”, being held in Guadalajara, Mexico on March 1-4, 2010.

He made his first intervention during the session on targeting biotechnologies for the poor on the first day of the conference, after the Chair of the session mentioned poor farmers and the need for them to tap on biotechnology.

“I am against GMOs. My province, Bohol, publicly rejects GMOs as a policy. The organizations I represent — PAKISAMA (National Confederation of Peasant Organizations in the Philippines), and AFA (Asian Farmers’ Association for Sustainable Rural Development) — are fighting against GMOs. Why? Because we firmly believe it is not the solution to poverty and hunger, but rather a cause of more deprivation in the future,” said Ancog.

Continue reading FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – Filipino farmer goes on hunger strike during FAO biotech conference

Small farmers’ intervention during FAO biotech conference (Day 2)

(Speech delivered by Isidoro Angoc, staff-farmer of PAKISAMA, an AFA member, during the second day of the FAO international technical conference on “Agricultural biotechnologies in developing countries: Options and opportunities in crops, forestry, livestock, fisheries and agro-industry to face the challenges of food insecurity and climate change (ABDC-10)” being held in Guadalajara, Mexico on 1-4 March 2010. ABDC-10 is hosted by the Government of Mexico and co-sponsored by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). The Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), the Global Forum on Agricultural Research (GFAR), the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB) and the World Bank are major partners in this initiative. Click here to go to the conference website.)

Guadalajara, Mexico, March 2, 2010 — I am Isidore Ancog from AFA.

As in the past, modern technologies come and go in our small farmlands especially that of green revolution; some died early, some stayed longer, but just the same those did not sustain. Why because we don’t own those technologies. Those were imposed on us from the top. As usual technicians from either public or private sector, come to our farms and introduce new inventions, and when they fail they just disappear, living us cleaning their mess – sometimes it will take years. We do not even know the scientists who invented those technologies to let them hold accountable.

Technicians can live without our farms, but we cannot. Farming is not only our means of living – but it is our way of life.

If you want your technologies to be accepted by small farmers, be transparent. Allow us to participate in the process and do not name it by yourself or your company. After all, if you insist for an IPR of your inventions, we can always insist not use our farms as testing grounds. And that also applies to Seeds. For us Seeds are nature’s gift for the use of everybody freely without restrictions. By any moral tradition, no one has the exclusive right to own them and deprive freedom of others to use them. For us any law that legalizes it is therefore immoral and malicious.

Continue reading Small farmers’ intervention during FAO biotech conference (Day 2)

Small farmer’s intervention at FAO biotech conference

(Speech delivered by Isidoro Angoc, staff-farmer of PAKISAMA, an AFA member, during the FAO international technical conference on “Agricultural biotechnologies in developing countries: Options and opportunities in crops, forestry, livestock, fisheries and agro-industry to face the challenges of food insecurity and climate change (ABDC-10)” being held in Guadalajara, Mexico on 1-4 March 2010. ABDC-10 is hosted by the Government of Mexico and co-sponsored by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). The Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), the Global Forum on Agricultural Research (GFAR), the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB) and the World Bank are major partners in this initiative. Click here to go to the conference website.)

I am Isidoro Ancog, farmer from the Bohol islands, Philippines. I am a tenant of a one hectare land, and I plant rice, peanuts, pineapple, vegetables, banana, yam and raise chicken , ducks and fish. I represent the Asian Farmers Alliance for Sustainable Rural Development or AFA. My organization in the Philippines is PAKISAMA, a national confederation of small farmers, marginal fishers, rural women, indigenous peoples and rural youth. My organization PAKISAMA is a member of AFA.

I am very grateful and honored to be invited to this conference, and for that I thank wholeheartedly the organizers and FAO.

Before I came here I have two FEARS and suddenly it becomes three now. I had a chance to read some of the documents that pertains to this conference. But I sadly regret that some or most of the terms there I do not understand because it is written in modern scientific parlance. That is my first FEAR, to go home after this conference with less understanding of modern scientific jargons.

My second FEAR is centered on the title of this first plenary; “Targeting biotechnologies to the poor”. I observe that the small scale men and women farmers and fishers, who form the majority of the poor in this world, are so underrepresented in this room. As a poor farmer in a remote province of Bohol, Philippines, I am extremely threatened rather than happy. This is a manifestation of what is happening in our villages — we are targeted, we are not involved in processes. Technologies are so top-down, imposed on us with very few knowledge given, especially on their limitations and effects.
to those whom they called POOR. What else are we not learning from the past?

However, there is one very obvious to me that I noticed. Most of the documents I came across are dealing with genetic engineering, and for that I have this feeling that this conference has defined biotechnology to zero in towards massive commercialization of Genetically Modified Organisms – that is my third and biggest FEAR – to face defensively to an adverse intellectual arrogance on a big scale?

Continue reading Small farmer’s intervention at FAO biotech conference

In the News (Taiwan): Aromatic new rice developed, named

A new rice variety that has good taste, texture and aroma has recently been developed and named, ready for application for intellectual property rights and distribution to farmers, the Council of Agriculture (COA) said yesterday.

The new grain, Taichung No. 194, was devised by Hsu Chih-sheng with a COA research farm in central Taiwan after 13 years of genetic engineering and modification, said Chen Jung-wu, director of the Taichung District Agricultural Research and Extension Station.

Read the full story at Taiwan News

In the News: Now a kit to detect GM traces in food

ASHOK B SHARMA, Financial Express, Posted online: Monday , April 07, 2008 at 1921 hrs IST

New Delhi, April 7: The department of biotechnology (DBT) in collaboration with the Hyderabad based Centre for DNA Fingerprinting and Diagnostics (CDFD) has developed a diagnostic kit for rapid detection of genetically modified (GM) traces in food by going to the level of DNA. Earlier a diagnostic developed by the Central Institute for Cotton Research could detect by going only to the level of protein.

“If this new kit is used it can resolve the claims of genetic contamination of conventional crops by GM crops. We can also use this diagnostic kit for checking imported food which may contain traces GM matter,” said the DBT secretary MK Bhan.

Read the full article at the Financial Express website

Urgent Action Needed Against Pro-GM Abuse of Science and Scientist

ISIS Press Release 04/12/07

When ISIS organised its briefing at European Parliament in
June (Scientists and MEPs for a GM free Europe, SiS 35), we
already knew that one of our speakers, Irina Ermakova, has
had her funding withdrawn because the results of her
experiments (GM Soya Fed Rats: Stunted, Dead, or Sterile,
SiS 33) challenged the claims of the biotech industry that
GM food is safe. She has since been the victim of a
scandalous attempt to discredit her work by the mainstream
journal, Nature Biotechnology (Science and Scientist Abused,
SiS 36).
Continue reading Urgent Action Needed Against Pro-GM Abuse of Science and Scientist

SAFaR COVENANT

We, THE PARTICIPANTS from the Asia Partnership for Human Development (APHD), working in solidarity with the poor, marginalized and oppressed peoples and farmers’ of Asia, gathered here at the Flushing Meadows Resort and Playground, Tagbilaran City, Bohol, Philippines, from 18-22 October 2007, on the occasion of the 3rd Asia Partnership for Human Development Pan-Asia Farmers’ Conference. After the sharing of experiences, deliberations and joint analyses,
Continue reading SAFaR COVENANT

The Needs and Expectations of Asian Farmers on Agricultural Research

June 29, 2007
Ka Vic Fabe, Treasurer, Asian Farmers’ Association (AFA)

Good morning , ladies and gentlemen. Thank you for your invitation to be one of the discussants in this session. To be honest, I am not very familiar with the European Commission’s agricultural research programs. But I am glad to know that the European Commission has a pro-active, purposeful and systematic research program. How I wish that the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (or ASEAN), the regional inter governmental body in which my country Philippines, belong to, has this kind of research program. A statement in the ERA-ARD brochure also caught my attention: “promote collaboration in European agricultural research for the world’s poor”.
Continue reading The Needs and Expectations of Asian Farmers on Agricultural Research