From the Community, For the Community
SEARICE Foregrounds Farmers' Rights in Luzon Farmers Forum
Story by: Cid Ryan Manalo
15 December 2021, Infanta, Quezon - Guided by the theme "From the Community, For the Community" (Mula sa Pamayanan, Tungo sa Pamayanan), SEARICE conducted a farmers forum on farmers rights, related issues, emerging challenges and prospects of policy work at the international, national and local level, linking them with practices of agroecology and program implementation in partner communities. Partners from the municipalities of Real, Infanta, General Nakar and Llavac in Quezon Province and municipality of Baras, Rizal province were welcomed by Angelito Sanchez Jr., a farmer and volunteer worker from the Prelature of Infanta.
Emphasizing that farmers rights are inherent rights, Program Officer for Policy Cid Ryan Manalo provided a brief overview of relevant international negotiations and agreements and their recent developments. At present, he explained that the International Treaty for Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA, Plant Treaty) and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and Other People Working in Rural Areas (UNDROP) contain important segments that generally remain supportive of these rights and emphasized the boomerang effect of national and local policies development and implementation.
Linking these to national policies tangent on farmers rights, Program Officer for Policy Patricia Nicdao critically navigated through the existing agricultural laws in the country. Nicdao sifted the policies that need further implementation, policies that pose threats, and policies that require stronger monitoring as they are impending reversals of initial successes. Towards the end, she emphasized the need for partners to claim these rights and actively involve themselves in seeking for accountability in implementation.
Putting the previous discussions in the backdrop of local contexts, Program Officer Guiller Domingo presented the successes of partnerships from Mindanao and the evolution of local policy developments that banked on the mutual collaboration with various stakeholders over the years. Domingo presented recent milestones such as the development of IRR in Kidapawan City for its Organic Agriculture Ordinance, and the incredible narrative of the Arakan Agricode. All these were possible through enabling genuine multi-stakeholder and participatory processes.
After lunch, a quick demonstration on seed conservation using basic materials was provided by SEARICE CONSERVE Farm Manager Jonna Mae Lacamento-Ducala, supplementing the traditional knowledge and existing techniques of farmer partners.
Program Officer Ren Gamaya provided the final discussion on the principles of agroecology focused on the political, social and cultural values embedded in it. The discussion carefully weaved policy advocacy with program implementation, reminding that agroecology, diversified and integrated farming systems goes beyond the numbers and development at present, but is intergenerational and forward looking.
Our partners raised their concerns and reactions to each presentation, and representatives from each municipality provided their testimonies. Executive Director Normita Ignacio, capped the day with her message of gratitude to partners for their persistence, leaving with a challenge to continue for the years to come.
The event will not be possible without the support of Social Action Center of Prelature of Infanta, SRI-Baras Farmers Association, MSKs (Munting Sambayanang Kristiyano) of Real, Infanta, Nakar and Llavac. We send our warmest gratitude to all participants, as well as the volunteer workers from the Prelature of Infanta. Let's forge on!
#SaveOurSeeds #SustainOurFarms #SecureOurFood