MASIPAG is a huge farmer-led network of people’s organizations in partnership with NGOs and scientists. It encourages seed-sharing and traditional knowledge. It thrives to Deepen Communion with Nature through farmers’ control of genetic and biological diversity, agricultural production and associated knowledge. The main crop grown by MASIPAG farmers is rice.
MASIPAG is based in the Phillipines, Asia but it has transnational impact. The immediate impact at a local level is better food security, greater food sovereignty, better health, and higher incomes. (cf Bachmann et al.)
For MASIPAG, rice is life.
A Filipino eats an average of 100-103 kilograms of rice in a year. Rice is grown largely by small-scale farmers, who make up 80% of total producers (Bachmann et al:p111) (@DAVID - They say "producers" and not "production",WEIRD]. According to FAO html , more than 2 billion people depend on rice and rice based systems for their livelyhoods.
A MASIPAG farmer describes, to what extend "MASIPAG farmers are different from other farmers"...
because they are free to choose their technologies and are able to implement these in their farms, from the choice of seeds, enriching soil fertility to managing pests and diseases of their crops and livestock. In the MASIPAG farmers is the desire to discover and find other methods for the farm and to gradually restore the culture of cooperation. (Bachmann et al: Chapter 7)
# The Masipag Approach
No to Corporate Control in Agriculture! No to GMOs! No to Golden Rice!
In fact, MASIPAG is not just an organization or network, it is a Complex Adaptive System. "MASIPAG aims to create change not only in farming techniques but through a holistic transformation of people and society.", write Bachmann et al (chapter 8). They quote a farmer:
Even if one is practicing a full organic system with MASIPAG seeds, if he has no concern for other farmers and society, then he cannot be considered a true MASIPAG farmer.
The MASIPAG approach is not just "farmer-centered and bottom-up", it systematically encourages commoning. Farming families learn and work together in groups. These groups, or people’s organizations (POs), form the basis of the system.
Most importantly, members and partners have created a "culture of respect for farmers. The staff in the secretariat acts as facilitators, not implementors or experts. ... Other network participants also work in synergistic partnership that is always underpinned by and oriented towards the farmer-members." (Bachmann et al: 113).
The holistic nature of the program cwould not be implemented without a routine of collective action, both at the level of peoples’ organisations on the ground and at the level of the network as a whole. This manifests, for example, in the increase of bayanihan or communal labor among organic farmers and in organizing marketing groups (ibid, p. 114). The latter help farmers to Trade with Price Sovereignty.
The MASIPAG approach encompasses the following elements (material adapted from Bachmann et al. Chapter 8, figure 1.3.):
- Bottom-up peer governance. To Assure Commoners' Consent in Decisionmaking the organization, decisionmaking, planning and implementation all come from farmer-members. These functions are coordinated through farmer groups and a decentralised [OR INFACT "distributed"? SH] organizational structure. This is a core element of how MASIPAG farmers Rely on Heterarchy, Not Hierarchy. - Farmer-scientist-NGO partnerships. ... run as a process of mutual, ongoing learning between farmers, scientists and NGOs, where all participants Trust Situated Knowledge and knowing -- that is, the farmers' and farmer-breeders' own field experiences. - Farmer-led research. Research, including breeding of new rice varieties, is designed and conducted by farmer-members for farmer-members. The normal form of "knowledge management" is to Pool & Share. - Farmer-to-farmer mode of diffusion. Training in the network is largely conducted by farmer-trainers using a wide range of techniques, including trial farms, exchange days and cultural activities. - Opposition to technological fixes. Change is understood holistically and farmers are empowered to use their knowledge so that they can control the technologies, not the other way around. MASIPAG tends to rely on Convivial Tools. Technological fixes don't. - Advancing farmers’ rights. html This includes farmers' rights to land, seeds and genetic resources, production, biodiversity, politics and decisionmaking, culture and knowledge, information and research, and sociopolitical factors.
# Masipag by Numbers (2016) 512 peoples’ organizations are members and partner with Masipag. This includes 41 NGOs, 20 church-based development organizations, and 15 scientists. Around 30,000 farmers are reached in 63 provinces. For every farmer-member of MASIPAG, there are 3 farmers using MASIPAG seeds. 188 trial farms maintain a minimum of 50 traditional rice varieties each. There are two national back-up farms and 8 regional back-up farms. More than 2,000 rice varieties have been collected and maintained. There are 600 traditional rice varieties, 1,299 MASIPAG rice varieties, and 506 farmer-bred rice varieties. 70 farmer rice-breeders +++ 12 farmer corn-breeders +++ more than 100 volunteer farmer-trainers responding to adverse agroclimatic conditions brought about by climate change, MASIPAG has documented farmer-bred rice and TRVs with particular adaptation: 12 flood tolerant varieties +++ 18 drought tolerant varieties +++ 20 saline (saltwater) tolerant varieties +++ 24 pests or diseases resistant varieties
# Realms of Commoning Air&Atmosphere, Art&Culture, Communication, Democratic Innovation, Energy, Food, Health, Knowledge, Land, Learning, Spirit&Well Being, Spaces for Commoning, Technology&Tools, Water
# See also