Category Archives: Country: Philippines

In the News: Delisting rice off Asean tariff protection faces opposition

DAVAO CITY—Rice producers and industry leaders nationwide are opposed to government’s plan to place a time limit on the category of rice as a protected agricultural product as a commitment to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean).

Such a commitment by the Department of Agriculture (DA) would mean the category of rice as an Asean protected commodity would one day expire.

The opposition to the plan is a common sentiment leaders of farmers, millers, traders and other business interests in the rice industry communicated to the DA during its five regional consultations, Preceles Manzo, assistant secretary for policy and planning told reporters at the Apo View Hotel here, shortly after the fifth and last consultation was concluded.

“Everybody seems to be skeptical [of removing tariff on rice]. Everybody feels that there is a big gap in government support and they are not ready,” Manzo said.

He said farmers and other sectors in the industry would likely air their protest in the national consultations in June. “We already have an earful of their complaints against lack of government attention and implementation of programs.”

Read the full story at Business Mirror

Sumilao Land Struggle

PAKISAMA*

The Higaonons are indigenous people of southern Philippines. Their ancestral land stretches across the valley of Sayawan and Palaopao mountains in Bukidnon province. But people who did not belong to their community obtained the legal ownership of the land. In the 1930s, there were forcibly evicted from their balaang yuta(holy land). They returned as farm workers to the land that had become a cattle ranch.

The legally registered owners of the cattle ranch changed through the years, and subsequent owners divided the land into smaller pieces. In 1984, one hundred forty-four hectares of the land owned by the Quisumbing family and located in Sumilao town were leased to Del Monte Philippines, Inc. (DMPI) for ten years. The adjacent other portion of the land became the estate of the Carlos family.

With the advent of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law in 1988 (CARP), the one-hundred-forty- four-hectare ancestral land in Sumilao town was declared in 1990 as subject to the agrarian reform program. One hundred thirty-seven Mapadayonong Panaghiusa sa mga Lumad Alang sa Damlag (MAPALAD) farmers (later known as Sumilao farmers), all of Higaonon lineage, were declared beneficiaries of the program. The government issued in 1995 Certificates of Land Ownership Award (CLOAs) in their names. For the first time in decades, the Higaonons regained their lost ancestral land.
Continue reading Sumilao Land Struggle

In the News: Farmers fear dumping of cheap vegetables in RP

LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – Associations of farmers and local government units in this vegetable-producing province and local governments were alerted on reports that the national government has entered into bilateral agreements and treaties on the trading of agricultural products.

These agreements could result in disadvantages to the local agriculture sector, especially in this province where vegetable farming is a major source of income.

An expert tapped by the provincial government to monitor trading of vegetables in Metro Manila said that while there was no smuggling of vegetables in the country over the past few months, bilateral trade agreements were signed by the national government with foreign countries. These deals might eventually kill the vegetable industry, the expert said.

Read the full article at Manila Bulletin

Women and Climate Change: Interview with Ms. Esmao, farmer leader from PAKISAMA, Philippines

(Ms. Luisita Esmao, or Ate Sita as we call her, is a widow, rice and coconut farmer from the town of Tayabas, province of Quezon, in the Philippines. She is also President of LAKAMBINI or Lakas ng Kababaihan sa Kanayunan [Strength of Women in the Countryside], a national organization of small scale women farmers in the Philippines. LAKAMBINI is the women’s organization affiliated with PAKISAMA or Pambansang Kilusan ng mga Samahang Magsasaka [National Movement of Peasant Movements], a national confederation of small scale farmers, fishers and IP organizations in the country. PAKISAMA is a member of AFA.)

1. How does Climate Change affect women farmers and how can they better adapt to it?

As a whole, climate change will decrease soil potential and lessen produce. Women who prepare food on the table will find it more difficult to ensure nutritious and adequate food for the family. For women in rice-farming communities who are in charge of sowing seedlings during the planting season, drought will mean even less opportunity for them to be employed as farm labor. In general, women augment farm income by getting employed as hired labor and there will be less opportunities when climate change worsens farming potential. Women can adopt by intensifying backyard food production but this will mean more support for basic services like water for the homes and additional nutritional supplements for the children.

Continue reading Women and Climate Change: Interview with Ms. Esmao, farmer leader from PAKISAMA, Philippines

Philippine farmers resume campaign for agrarian reform

Rene Peñas, PAKISAMA’s National Vice President, drops a streamer rapel-style from the pedestrian overpass in front of St. Peter’s Church in Commonwealth Avenue, Quezon City. PAKISAMA is joined by farmers from Sumilao, Banasi and Calatagan, fisherfolk leaders from MAMAMAYAN, and students from the University of Caloocan.

See more information at the PAKISAMA website

In the News: ADB Warns of Climate Change Impact on Southeast Asia

BANGKOK – Economic damage from climate change will hit Southeast Asia harder than other parts of the world and seriously jeopardize production of rice, the world’s most important food crop, according to a new report from the Asian Development Bank.

The report, released Monday in Bangkok, found that the total cost of lost agricultural production and other negative impacts from climate change would be equivalent to as much as 6.7% of the region’s gross domestic product by the end of this century, more than double the 2.6% loss estimated for the world as a whole. It also found that rice yields would decline by as much as 34% in Indonesia and 75% in the Philippines, while Thailand and Vietnam, among the world’s biggest exporters of the food, would also experience declines.

Southeast Asia “will have to do something” to offset those losses, including making new investments to maintain agricultural production, says Juzhong Zhuang, an economist at the ADB.

Read the full article at The Wall Street Journal

In the News: Failure of conventional agriculture discussed

By Stella A. Estremera

LAST Tuesday, Davao City became the host of the first ever presentation of the IAASTD in the whole Asia. IAASTD is International Assessment on Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development — a multi-government, multi-donor undertaking to make sense of agriculture.

It is an attempt by governments to understand why sustainable agriculture and poverty alleviation of rural populations in developing countries remain elusive, decades since there have been massive investments in agricultural technology. It was embarked on to provide information on how agricultural knowledge, science and technology (AKST) can be used to improve livelihoods in rural areas, reduce hunger and poverty that continues to prevail, especially in rural areas, and to facilitate equitable environmentally sustainable development.

Read the full article at Sun Star

In the News: Study Shows Insecticide Has Little Control Effect on Onion Leafminer

Wearing a grim face, Andres Savella looks around his 1,000-square meter onion field. Disheartened, he tells himself that there’s no solution to his problem. A certain kind of insect feeds inside the onion leaves, and no amount of insecticide can kill it.

The problem of this 62-year-old farmer is the onion leafminer, a yellowish insect with a black spot on its back is suspected to have been accidentally introduced in the Philippines through imported cut flowers, according to Dong Arida, supervising research specialist at the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice). The insect was first collected in 1997 from onion fields in Central Luzon by Dr. Sonja J. Scheffer of the Agriculture Research Service, US Department of Agriculture. Based on laboratory-reared flies that she collected, Scheffer identified the leafminer as Liriomyza trifolii (Burgess).

The larvae of the insect eat the inner portion of the leaves, and by the time the mines are noticed, the leafminer larvae are already well protected by the leaf cuticle from insecticidal spray.

Read the full article at Agriculture Business Week