While almost everyone of us talks about Avengers’ Endgame nowadays, we at Agro-Eco Philippines are glad to tell the public that the no. of farmers ending their dependency from commercial seeds has increased to 200 percent.
For the past 59 years, seeds along with the packaged chemical inputs in it are used by corporations, in cahoots with private and government research institutions, to control the entire agricultural cycle leaving most of the farmers hungry with empty pockets and high debts.
This situation makes farmer-led, participatory and community-based rice breeding the most relevant and empowering approach of all. It is a key to climate change adaptation, farmers’ rights and access to seeds, food security, agronomic and taste improvement, organizing of young farmers, and strengthening of local economies.
The organic farmers in Davao Region have recently organized a Rice Breeding Training in Barangay Calubihan, Banaybanay, Davao Oriental attended by 35 young and adult farmers from 6 rice-producing municipalities, and 6 agriculture students from Davao Oriental State College of Science Technology (DOSCST) who are taking up their 2-month internship at Banaybanay Christian Small Farmers Association (BCSFAI), who also hosted the Rice Breeding Training.
The training was also an opportunity for Claudia Fuhrer, Policy Officer on Right to Food of Fastenopfer to talk to the farmers and to learn from what they have already been doing.
“Doing this kind of training in a municipality (Banaybanay) known as the center of hybrid rice industry in Mindanao is an eye opener to those farmers and policy-makers who still allowed themselves to be dependent from seeds and agro-chemical corporations. What we are showing here is not only an alternative, but a concrete and complete solution to a perennial problem” says Nonito Olimpo, farmer leader of BCSFAI.
It’s inspiring the see that Banaybanay has an increasing no. of organic farmers and the Office of the Municipal Agriculturist is very supportive to them.