Groups mount the country’s largest ‘food art’ to demand government support for Ecological Agriculture

Press release - October 18, 2014
Quezon City, Philippines-– Today, Greenpeace and other civic groups— composed of farmers, mothers, health advocates, organic consumers and traders and policy makers— came together to celebrate the country’s rich and diverse agricultural heritage. Using ecologically produced fruits and vegetables, the groups created a giant ‘food art’ installation and rallied on Department of Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala to promote Ecological Agriculture, instead of risky Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs).

“Filipinos all over the country are seeing the need to stand up and protect our diversified food crops by demanding for government’s support for Ecological Agriculture- highly vital in addressing food security and health issues like malnutrition and Vitamin A deficiency,” said Daniel M. Ocampo, Ecological Agriculture Campaigner for Greenpeace Philippines.  “With the Philippines’ thriving Ecological Agriculture and the growing demand for it, there is simply no room and no need for GMOs such as ‘Golden’ rice.”

Greenpeace organized the colourful affair on the heels of World Food Day. The event saw participants creating a giant food Mandala made up of 1,000 kilos of common fruits and vegetables, spread out across 100 square meters of the Quezon Memorial Circle, making it the largest ‘food art’ in the country.   Mandala is Sanskrit for circle, denoting ‘wholeness’. The Mandala concept was used to demonstrate how Ecological Agriculture, a farming system that works in harmony with nature and bridges indigenous knowledge systems with developments in modern science and technology has long provided Filipinos with safe, complete and diverse diets.

Unlike GMOs which present risks to public health and the environment, Ecological Agriculture supports biodiversity in farms to produce diverse foods, ensuring a holistic approach to malnutrition and addressing not only a single nutrient deficiency but providing other nutrients most needed by pregnant women and children.

“I fully support initiatives that promote Ecological Agriculture because it empowers citizens to plant, grow and harvest their own food that is clean, grown naturally and free from synthetic pesticides and fertilizers,” said Senator Cynthia Villar, a strong advocate of urban gardening using composts from household wastes as fertilizers.

“By all accounts, Ecological Agriculture is what is most preferred and what is most needed here in the Philippines, especially to address nutrient deficiencies among women and children,” said Velvet Roxas, Deputy Executive Director of ARUGAAN, a group that has been promoting diverse diets and indigenous foods. “It is sad that Secretary Alcala keeps on promoting ‘Golden’ rice to supposedly combat Vitamin A deficiency, but what about the other nutritional requirements that our bodies need on a daily basis?”

“The solution is already present; we don’t need to look far.  The DA has to divert its support away from GMOs and bring it back to where it should belong – to Ecological Agriculture,” said Pangging Santos, Program Manager for Integrated Health and Development Project of SARILAYA. “We call on the Department of Agriculture, to heed farmers’ advice and give their full support to small family farms so that together we can achieve food and nutrition security for the country.”

“GMOs like ‘Golden’ rice are nothing but mere illusions.  Supporting GMOs through research and development just takes away valuable resources that should have been dedicated to the development and promotion of already available solutions to nutritional deficiency. Secretary Alcala should act now – stop further GMO approvals and shift the DA’s support to a more meaningful and effective implementation of the National Organic Act,” added Ocampo. 

For more information:

Vigie Benosa-Llorin
Media Campaigner
Greenpeace Southeast Asia
Mobile 0917-8228793

Daniel Ocampo
Ecological Agriculture Campaigner
Greenpeace Southeast Asia
Mobile 0917-8110469