Greenpeace reaction to President Aquino’s speech during the World Economic Forum-East Asia

Press release - May 22, 2014
Manila, Philippines, 22 May 2014— Atty. Zelda Soriano, Political Advisor for Greenpeace Southeast Asia said:

"We share President Aquino's call that in everything we do we should take into account the effects of climate change. We add that for the same reason, the Philippines and ASEAN cannot afford to copy the outdated economic model of grow now and clean later. The regional economic integration is the best time for ASEAN members to phase out carbon intensive coal, gas and oil and give policy support for clean and renewable energy sources."

On the session topic "Agricultural Transformation in East Asia" during the GROW ASIA Agriculture Forum:

“While we welcome the GROW Asia initiative of governments and businesses to support market-based scalable solutions, ASEAN must prioritize agricultural transformation that promotes bio-diverse farming, organic pest control and natural fertilizers—or ecological agriculture.

Policies that would shift the funding support from industrial agriculture and propagation of genetically modified crops to sustainable farming practices; and regional programs that would promote agro-ecology and sustainable ecosystems are crucial for a sustainable ASEAN economic integration.

Numerous studies show that ecological agriculture is not only able to feed the world but also protect the environment and climate.”

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NOTES TO THE EDITOR:

Increased crop yields: In the United States, agronomists compared maize fields planted as monocultures to those with various levels of intercropping. It was the fields with the highest diversity (three crops plus three “cover” crops) that produced the highest yield—by more than 100%[ Smith, R. G., Gross, K. L. and Robertson, G. P. 2008. Effects of crop diversity on agroecosystem function: Crop yield response. Ecosystems 11: 355-366.].

Richer, more fertile soil: A 21-year study of European farms showed that organic fertilizers offer better soil stability, greater fertility, and higher biodiversity (including earthworms and more microbes) than soils fertilized synthetically[ Mäder, P., Fließbach, A., Dubois, D., Gunst, L., Fried, P. and Niggli, U. 2002. Soil fertility and biodiversity in organic farming. Science 296: 1694-1697].

Sustainable fertilizers: A meta-analysis of data from 77 published studies suggests that legumes used as green manures can provide enough nitrogen to replace the entire amount of synthetic nitrogen fertilizer currently in use—without losses in food production[ Badgley, C., Moghtader, J., Quintero, E., Zakem, E., Chappell, M. J., Avilés-Vázquez, K., Samulon, A. and Perfecto, I. 2007. Organic agriculture and the global food supply. Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems 22: 86-108.].

Resilience to pests: Scientists and farmers in Yunnan, China, used biodiverse farming to reverse “rice blast”, the fungus that is the primary cause of disease in rice plants. Disease-susceptible rice varieties inter-planted with resistant varieties had an 89% greater yield. The incidence of disease was 94% lower compared to that of conventional monoculture[ Zhu, Y., Chen, H., Fan, J., Wang, Y., Li, Y., Chen, J., Fan, J., Yang, S., Hu, L., Leung, H., Mew, T. W., Teng, P. S., Wang, Z. and Mundt, C. C. 2000. Genetic diversity and disease control in rice. Nature 406: 718-722.].

Cost-efficient farming: In Andhra Pradesh, India, ecological farming helped increase farmers’ net incomes. Savings on chemical pesticides ranged between 600 and 6,000 Indian Rupees (USD $15-150) per hectare—while crop yields remained stable[ Ramanjaneyulu, G. V., Chari, M. S., Raghunath, T. A. V. S., Hussain, Z. and Kuruganti, K. 2008. Non pesticidal management: Learning from experiences.www.csa-india.org/].

 

For more information:

Atty. Zelda Soriano, ASEAN Political Advisor for Greenpeace Southeast Asia
Email:   Mobile: +63917-5949424

Therese Salvador, Media Campaigner for Greenpeace Southeast Asia
Email:   Mobile: +63917-8228734