Resolutions | Rice Stakeholders Workshop

Rice Stakeholders Workshop

Calls and demands of Rice Stakeholders

1. Protect our rice farmers and the rice industry by junking Republic Act 11203 Rice Liberalization Law. The Rice Liberalization Law undermines the national food security, self-sufficiency and self-reliance of the national rice industry. It caused the bankruptcy of rice farmers, and even small rice millers, and flooding of imported rice leading to depressed farm gate prices. The Congress should repeal the said law and enact the Rice Industry Development Act (RIDA).

2. Uphold National Food Self-Sufficiency and Self-Reliance. The government should support the local production of rice farmers, irrigate lands, improve the means of production and provide post-harvest facilities. Strengthen the National Food Authority to stabilize farm gate prices at least P20 per kilo and retail prices at most P25 per kilo. Increase the Department of Agriculture’s budget, with focus on the needs of farmers and the production side of agriculture are addressed.

3. Ensure adequate, safe, accessible, and affordable food for all. Stabilize the retail price of rice to be affordable for poor consumers, and guarantee supply, availability and accessibility at all times.

4. Provide social amelioration and production subsidy to alleviate the impact of the pandemic lockdown. Provide P10,000 cash aid and P15,000 production subsidy for rice farmers and farm workers during the pandemic. Ensuring that aid is not in the form of loans, would lead to further reliance on corporate control or tie farmers to debt. Write-off interests from debts incurred during the pandemic.

5. Oppose corporate capture of food systems. Dismantle neoliberal policies, break ties with the World Trade Organization, and ensure a trade policy on the basis of equality, reciprocity, mutual benefit, and national interest. Make huge corporations, philanthrocapitalists, pseudo public institutions and big cartels liable to the destruction of our food systems that has led to immeasurable tragedy among farmers and the working people.

6. Enact the Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill. Rice self-sufficiency will be attained once farmers retrieve control over the land they till. To date, 9 of 10 farmers remain landless, with most of the land dominated by huge landlords, corporations for the production of cash crops for export. Productive rice and agricultural land should also be protected from conversion to other uses. Idle lands should be accessed for food production.

7. Re-orient PhilRice and other public agricultural research centers to promote farmer-centered agricultural research. Agricultural development in the country should deviate from corporate interest that is profit driven but should focus on the needs and problems of the Filipino farmers. Research and development (R&D), auxiliary support and extension services programs should be focused on the specific and local conditions of farmers and their farms, work with them and build on their local knowledge and resources. It should find ways in ensuring farmers resiliency to the worsening effects of climate change while mitigating its causes through the promotion of organic agriculture, diversified/integrated farming system and agrobiodiversity conservation and improvement.

8. Enact national land use policy ensuring national food security. Wanton land use conversion, even of prime agricultural lands, should be halted immediately. No go zones for mining, mega-dams and other environmentally destructive corporate activities should be established, especially in areas of high biodiversity, environmentally sensitive areas and sources of water for communities for irrigation and home use.

9. Conservation of rice and agrobiodiversity through continued utilization, improvement and protection from misappropriation, patents and contamination. Conservation of rice and agrobiodiversity enables farmers to have a range of resources to address specific problems in our agriculture. Farmers rights to seeds should also be protected and promoted such as the free use, exchange and improvement of seeds. Examples include seed banking, trial farms, farmer-led breeding programs that address seed availability leading to lesser external costs, location-specific varieties to address climate change impacts, pests, diseases and even consumer preference and cultural preservation among others. Conservation of our rice and agrobiodiversity also calls against privatization of seeds, patenting, protection from GM contamination and the destruction and plunder of our environment.

10. Mainstream diversification and integration of farm components such as rice-based Diversified and Integrated Farming Systems (DIFS) to ensure balanced and diversified diets at the household level, increase incomes, onfarm resources and ‘waste’ materials are maximized lessening use of chemicals, and to disperse impacts brought about by climate change such as drought, flooding and/or salt-water intrusion.

11. Accelerate infrastructure development program for irrigation and post-harvest facilities. Thousands of hectares of irrigable areas that can tide over rice insufficiency remain unproductive or below productivity due to absence or costly irrigation. Tons of agriculture yield also goes to waste due to absence of post-harvest facilities such as dryers, transportation and storage facilities. If irrigation and post-harvest facilities are improved, the farmers' produce will make up with the local demand rather than addressing them through importation.

12. Encourage the youth to take up farming to ensure a new generation of farmers. To be able to encourage them, structural problems on land, resources, livelihoods and a liveable future should be addressed by the government.

13. Protect and promote farmers rights to land and resources, on their right to development and from human rights abuses.

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