IRRI’s 59 years in Ph: Anakpawis solon calls for food sovereignty

Anakpawis Rep. Ka Ayik Casilao at the 10th General Assembly of MASIPAG.

IRRI’s 59 years in Ph
Anakpawis solon calls for food sovereignty

Manila, Philippines – A day after the 59th anniversary of the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in the country, Anakpawis solon calls for food sovereignty or the country’s freedom to adopt our own food system, while delivering a keynote speech at the 10th General Assembly of Magsasaka at Siyentipiko Para sa Pag-unlad ng Agrikultura or MASIPAG in Quezon City. The author of House Bill 5403 repealing IRRI’s immunity from suit said that clearly IRRI failed to develop the country’s rice sector.

“IRRI failed to develop the country’s rice sector, as it only served as a marketing arm of agro-chemical foreign monopolies that showcased their package products such of seeds, fertilizers and pesticides. It is unsustainable as it treated the already poor Filipino farmers as major source of giant profits,” the lawmaker said during the activity.

The foreign giant monopoly firms behind IRRI are the merged Monsanto-Syngenta, Bayer, Dow AgroSciences and BASF, and institutions like Ford Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

“IRRI is the symbol of our right to food sovereignty being totally violated, as foreign monopolies imposed their profitable interests on Philippine agriculture, and this was facilitated by the Marcos dictatorship and ‘Green Revolution,'” he said.

He stressed that it was historical that amid IRRI’s presence in the country since 1960, for 59 years, agriculture still failed to reach self-sufficiency, thus, it is high time for its ejectment from Philippine soil.

“To uphold food sovereignty, we must advance the Filipino peasants’ rights to land and attain genuine agrarian reform,” he said as food and agricultural systems to be adopted are being dictated by big landlords, middlemen of foreign monopolies and agro-corporations.

He elaborated that government promotion of agri-business venture arrangements (AVAs), leaseback, contract-growing, ‘corporative’ scheme, stock distribution option or sdo, are all forms non-land tansfer schemes, depriving farmers the freedom on how to cultivate their lands.

“The collusion between the government and foreign agro-corporations dictate on farmers not to cultivate food crops, but export cash crops such as oil palm, banana, pineapple and others,” he said.

As step, he urged MASIPAG to campaign for the enactment of House Bill 8512 Rice Industry Development Act, HB 555 Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill and for the repeal of Republic Act 11203 Rice Liberalization Law.

“Existing laws and programs intend for the Filipinos as a population of hungry people, producing raw materials for foreign monopolies while buying their input products, and then begging for surplus rice stocks imported from other countries. We must defend our right to food, to food sovereignty, rice sector and agriculture,” he urged. ###

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