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Farmers and Scientists Uphold S&T For the People (by RESIST)

RESIST (Resistance and Solidarity Against Agrochemical TNCs) launched in University of the Philippines, Los Baños, the first Science for the People Colloquim, a two-day interaction between scientists and farmers aimed at strengthening their unity towards making science and technology serve the people.


In light of the upcoming May elections, both academic scientists and peasant leaders urged politicians running for office to offer concrete plans in alleviating the country’s food crisis through the development of S&T within the framework of achieving greater agricultural productivity, food security and self-sufficiency.

“Though the electoral process has never proved to be much effective in uplifting the plight of farmers, as majority of the voting public, farmers have the right to know the candidates’ stand on S&T issues that affect them,” said Danilo Ramos, Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas secretary-general.

In particular, RESIST has actively lobbied and mobilized for the stopping of the commercialization of GMOs (genetically-modified organisms) in the country, saying that it worsens the poverty in the countryside and primarily serve the interest of profit-oriented transnationals that own and control them.

RESIST maintains that the agricultural production system continues to be geared towards export and not for domestic consumption. Therefore, advances in agricultural knowledge are oriented for the improvement of agricultural exports and only benefit the large landlords and agri-businesses.

In the colloquim, scientists were given a chance to explain to farmers the different existing agricultural technologies: organic production systems, genetic engineering, chemical-based production, irrigation facilities, and other agro-ecological approaches.

“As advocates of S&T for the people, we believe in the capacity of the scientific community to contribute greatly in the development of agriculture that will greatly benefit the people,” said Dr. Romeo Quijano, president of Pesticide Action Network Philippines and Health and Environmental Alliance Against Toxics.

On the other hand, peasants were given a chance to express how these technologies positively or negatively affect their lives. “Scientists should not be confined to mastering the technical aspects of their technologies, but should be able to see and place them in their particular social contexts, in order to understand why some of their technologies are met with resistance from peasants,” said Ramos.

A comprehensive discussion on the status of Philippine agriculture was given in the colloquim, as well as a presentation of current agricultural programs by representatives from the government, academe and private sector.

Bayan Muna Representative Satur Ocampo also graced the event by offering a critique of these programs and proposing a People’s Agricultural Development Policy marked by genuine agrarian reform and national industrialization.

The following day, participants went to a nearby peasant community in order to expose themselves to the concrete problems farmers face.

The Science for the People Colloquim is a follow-up event to the Peasant-Scientist Conference held by RESIST last 2002, and will be part of the alliance’s yearly activities.

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