Nationwide solidarity action vs ‘Golden Rice’ held by farmers

Published August 8, 2022, 7:56 PM

by Charie Mae F. Abarca

An online solidarity action was held by various peasant groups in the Philippines to solidify their resistance against the Golden Rice project.

Masipag farmers reject Golden Rice (Photo courtesy of Masipag Visayas / Facebook)

Filipino farmers, on Monday, Aug. 8, launched an online solidarity action just in time for the 9th anniversary of the historic uprooting of the secret Golden Rice field trials in Pili, Camarines Sur.

Golden Rice is a genetically modified rice. It was initially created to solve Vitamin A deficiency. While proponents claim that the rice is beneficial, farmers say otherwise, reiterating that if the national government wants to solve the Vitamin A deficiency problem in the country, they should support local farmers planting crops instead.

During the online solidarity action, Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) Chairperson Rafael “Ka Paeng” Mariano disclosed that the peasant group will forward this pressing concern to the Congress.

“The Peasant Movement of the Philippines will request the representatives of the Makabayan bloc in the Congress to look into the inconsistent and unfair final revisions of the Joint Department Circular no. 1 of 2016 that enables the entry of Golden Rice in the country,” said Mariano.

“If necessary and warranted, we will request to halt all the process concerning its implementation – be it field trials and feeding trials,” he furthered.

On the same day that this virtual solidarity action was held, farmer leaders likewise led a series of local protests to denounce the controversial project. In Bicol for an instance, regional alliance Sarong Inisyatiba para Wasakon ang Lasong Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) held a forum to reiterate that the problem of hunger and Vitamin A deficiency “will not be solved by band-aid solutions” like the Golden Rice.

In Visayas, several peasant groups held a “picket-dialogue” with the Department of Agriculture (DA) Regional Office 6 to raise their opposition to the ongoing commercialization of Golden Rice in the island. Meanwhile, in Mindanao, small and organic farmers publicized a statement against the “pilot scale deployment” of the genetically modified rice in the region.

With these collective efforts and although geographically divided, the farmers stood their ground and highlighted their resistance against Golden Rice and emphasized the consumers’ rights to safe food.