|Philippines Early Development|
In the 1980s, worsening rural poverty prompted many social development groups to implement projects in sustainable agriculture and appropriate farming technologies, such as the sloping agricultural land technology (SALT) of the Mount Carmel Baptist Rural Learning Centre, compact farming of church-organized groups, low external input sustainable agriculture, biodynamic farming, and others.
MASIPAG started in 1984 as a farmer-NGO-scientist partnership project with the aim of encouraging small rice farmers to adapt or develop their own appropriate farming technologies, practice farmer-to-farmer extension, and have access and control over production resources such as seeds and technology through community seed banks. The spread of MASIPAG, driven by its farmer-trainers, was facilitated by the farmers’ desire to acquire seeds and technologies appropriate to subsistence farming conditions.
The MASIPAG rice cultural management practices, coupled with seeds made available by the group’s rice conservation and improvement program, proved to have a long-lasting positive impact on farmers’ practice of organic agriculture in the Philippines. A participatory research project done in 1981 by the Agency for Community Education and Services (ACES) Foundation on the impact of high-yielding varieties on small farmers found that farmers were better off in the 1970s using traditional methods than under the Green Revolution with its high yielding, high-input varieties.
In the 1990s, sustainability and the social dimensions of alternative agriculture became important aspects of rural development and thus the term Sustainable Agriculture replaced what used to be called Organic Agriculture in earlier years. Many farmer organizations and NGOs further emerged and engaged in the development of alternative farming technologies; they included: the Organic Producers and Trade Association (OPTA), BUGAN ECOMOVEMENT, Philippine Development Assistance Program (PDAP), Regional Organic Agriculture Development (ROAD Network), Sibol ng Agham at Teknolohiya (SIBAT), KOOL-NE, ALTERTRADE, Technical Assistance for the Development of Rural and Urban Poor (TACDRUP), Sustainable Agriculture Center (SAC-XU), Don Bosco Foundation for Sustainable Development Inc., Alliance of Volunteers for Development Foundation (AVDF), Pambansang Kilusan ng mga Samahang Magsasaka (PAKISAMA), Gratia Plena and South East Asia Regional Institute for Community Education Inc. (SEARICE). Many international donors supported these new, different initiatives.
From 2000 onwards, the awareness of organic agriculture grew further as the national government started field trials of genetically modified maize and other crops and later allowed their commercialization. Local government units collaborated with development NGOs to promote organic agriculture in their areas, such as those in Bohol, Bukidnon, Cotabato, Negros, and Quezon. More farmers have converted or are in the process of converting to organic agriculture. In addition, independent small-and medium-scale producers have organized weekend organic markets targeting the middle and upper classes in Metro Manila and key cities around the country. Some initiatives worth mentioning are: the Organic Town of Baras, Rizal, the ’Organic Food Island’ of Negros, the ‘Go Organic’ movement in South Cotabato, development of bio-dynamic rice in Magsaysay and Surallah (also in South Cotabato), Valencia, Bukidnon as the ‘Organic Rice Capital’, and Bohol as a ‘GMO-free’ province.
|IFOAM - International Federation of Organic Agriculture | email@example.com|