Farmer-Led Resistance: MASIPAG’s Journey to Reclaim Seed Sovereignty

The Dominant Agricultural System in the Philippines is Stacked Against Them — But MASIPAG is Changing the Narrative

A Growing Culture

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The Philippines’ food system was shaped by centuries of colonial rule — first Spanish, then U.S. Colonial powers worked to steadily consolidate land in the hands of a small number of corporations and wealthy landowners. Today, while 75 percent of the country lives in rural areas, where agriculture is the main source of livelihood, nine out of ten farmers do not own the land they till. The Philippines government has promised to address the feudalistic conditions facing the majority of the country since the 1980s; time and again they have broken their promises of genuine agrarian reform and land redistribution and instead shored up power with the support of the wealthy landowning minority. Increasingly, farmers and farmers’ rights advocates who advocate for land and justice are targeted and arrested or killed by the government.

Filipino farmers’ calls for the right to shape their own food systems have gone ignored. Instead, corporations have teamed up with the government to address what they see as “the real problem.” Institutions like the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) introduced what they claimed…

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A Growing Culture

Working towards a future of food sovereignty. For everyone. Everywhere.