Statement from Peoples' Movements & NGOs in Southeast Asia to the World
Trade Organization
May 1998

Rice is life in Southeast and other parts of Asia. It has been the
cornerstone of our food, our languages, our cultures - in short, our life
- for thousands of years. Over the centuries, farming communities
throughout the region have developed, nurtured and conserved over a
hundred thousand distinct varieties of rice to suit different tastes and

The Green Revolution spearheaded by the International Rice Research
Institute (IRRI) in the 1960s resulted the loss of this diversity from
farmers' fields and the spread of wholly unsustainable farming systems
which require high energy inputs such as pesticides, fertilizers,
so-called 'high-yielding' seeds, irrigation systems and supervised credit
schemes. In this process, farmers lost control of their own seeds, their
own knowledge and their own self-confidence. Today, people are struggling
throughout the region to rebuild more sustainable agriculture systems
hinged on farmers' control of genetic resources and local knowledge.

In the past, the whole cycle of the rice economy was under the control of
farmers themselves, from production through distribution. Today, global
corporations are taking over the rice sector. With the expansion of
industrial farming, global corporations - and their local subsidiaries -
established their predominance in the rice sector through research
programs, interference in policy-making, and their exports of farm
machinery, pesticides and fertilizers. Now, through the use of genetic
engineering, they are increasing their control over our rice cultures.

The kinds of rice that we are promised through this technology threaten
the environment and public health. For example, herbicide-tolerant rice
will lead to increased pesticide use. Rice incorporating Bacillus
thuringiensis genes will disrupt ecological balances. Both of these are
unsafe for consumers and will lead to allergic reactions, increased
antibiotic resistance and other health hazards. New hybrids - such as
those based on the so-called 'Terminator Technology' - will force farmers
to buy rice seed every planting season from transnational corporations.

The extension of the patent system through the WTO Agreement on Trade
Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) gives global
corporations the 'right' to claim monopoly ownership over rice - and life
- itself. Companies in the industrialized world have already started to
claim intellectual property rights (IPR) on rice. A derivative of IR-8,
IRRI's 'miracle rice', was monopolised through IPR in the United States
already in the 1980s. Recently, RiceTec, a company in Texas, has taken out
a patent on basmati rice. This is biopiracy against India and Pakistan.
The same company and many others in the US are now marketing what they
label as Jasmine rice. This is not only intellectual and cultural theft,
it also directly threatens farm communities in Southeast Asia. Jasmine
rice comes from Thailand, where it is grown today by over five million
resource-poor farmers who are trying to develop ecological alternatives
for Jasmine rice production and marketing.

We have to strengthen local groups to assert farmers' and community rights
to counter these trends in the region. For this reason, we make the
following demands:

1. WTO memberstates must recognise that farmers' and community rights have
precedence over intellectual property rights and that IPRs destroy
biodiversity. Many initiatives to develop and implement farmers' and
community rights are underway in Southeast Asia, and must be supported and

2. We encourage the memberstates of the Association of Southeast Asian
Nations (ASEAN) to support the initiatives of India and the
Organisation for African Unity to resist the extension of IPR systems and
to develop community rights at the local and national levels.

3. Genetic engineering of rice and other foods should be prohibited.

4. Agriculture and biodiversity must be taken out of the WTO regime,
especially the TRIPS Agreement.

5. No patents on rice! No patents on life!

- - - - - - - - - - - -

1. MASIPAG (Farmer/Scientist Partnership for Development)
3346 Aguila St., Rhoda's Subd., Anos
Los Banos, Laguna 4030
Tel. (63-49) 536-5549 or 4205
Fax: (63-49) 536 55 26

2. CEC (Center for Environmental Concerns)
175-B Kamias Road Ext., Quezon City or
PO Box 1212-1152 Quezon City Post Office
Tel  (63-2)920-90-99, 928-97-25
Fax (63-2) 921-15-31
Cell: (0912) 3574364

3. PDG (Paghida-et sa Kauswagan Dev't Group)
Mojon, Binicuil, Kabankalan, Negros Occidental or
Tel./Fax : (34) 471-2573

c/o CERC Office
Kabankalan Catholic College
Kabankalan, Negros Occidental 6111
Tel (63-34) 471-2574

Unit 4, Aurora Apts,
Pearl St., Umali Subd.
College, Laguna 4031
Tel. (63-49) 536-3987
Fax: (63-49) 536 55 26
E-mail: or

6. Assisi Foundation
3/F Unit C, Strata 200 Bldg.
Emerald Ave. Ortigas Complex, Pasig City

7. Philippine Greens
# 108 V. Luna Road Ext.
Sikatuna Village, Quezon City
Tel  (63-2) 921-5165
Fax (63-2) 433-1133

8. Dr Oscar Zamora, University of the Philippines Los Banos
Department of Agronomy
University of Philippines Los Banos
College, Laguna 4031
Tel: (63-49) 536 24 66 or 536 22 17 or 536 24 68
Fax: (63-49) 536 24 68

9. Dr Romy Quijano, University of the Philippines College of Medicine
UP-College of Medicine
Dept. of Pharmacology
547 Pedro Gil St., Ermita, Manila
Taft Ave., Manila
E-mail: romyq@ or

10. S.A. Center (Sustainable Agriculture Center)
Manresa Hts., Xavier University College of Agriculture
Cagayan de Oro City
Tel: (63-8822) 724096
Tel/Fax:  (63-8822) 727464 or 722994
Cellular: (097) 3382105
E-mail:  or

11. SIBAT (Sibol ng Agham at Teknolohiya)
No. 10 Alley 13
Road 3, Project 6
Quezon City
Tel (63-2) 9291140
Tel/Fax (63-2) 9293220

12. Environmental Legal Assistance Center (ELAC)
Cebu Office
Door 2 Rodriguez Apt.
Escario cor. G. Garcia Sts., Cebu City
Tel. No.: +6332-53678
Tel./Fax: +6332-2545091

13. GRAIN Los Banos
Aurora Apts., Unit 2
Pearl St., Umali Sbd.
College, Laguna 4031
Tel: (63-49) 536 39 79
Fax: (63-49) 536 55 26

14. CACP (Citizens' Alliance for Consumer Protection)
Casal Bldg., 15 Anonas Road, Quirino District, Quezon City
Tel: 433-3073


1. TREE (Technology for Rural and Ecological Enrichment)
21 SOI 2  Nane-Kaew Road, Muang District
Suphanburi 72000
Tel Suphanburi: (66-35) 52 18 83 or 50 0803
Tel Bangkok: (66-2) 883 81 13
Fax: (66-35) 52 18 03

2. Mr. Witoon Lianchamroon
Lokdulyapav / BIOTHAI	(Thai Network on Biodiversity and Community Rights)
87/11 PingAmPorn, Pattaranives
Samakkee Rd., Muang
Tel: (66-2) 952 04 90
Fax: (66-2) 952 83 12

3. Ms. Piengporn (Chiu) Panutampon
55/238 Mooban Saranrom
Soi Nuanchan, Sukhapibal 1 Rd
Bungkum, Bangkok 10230
Tel/Fax : (66-2) 946 69 38

4. Alternative Agriculture Network (AAN)
67 Soi Thonglor 3
Sukhumvit 55, Phrakhanong
Bangkok 10110
Tel/Fax: (66-2) 391 17 71


1. PAN (Pesticides Action Network) Indonesia


Jl. Persada Raya #1

Menteng Dalam

Jakarta 10210

Tel/Fax: (62-21) 829 65 45


2. Anik Wusari

Program Officer for Program Development Services

Resource Management and Development Consultant (REMDEC)

Salemba Raya No. 39 BB.


Email: Anik Wusari <

3. Omar Sari

Network and Computer Specialist

International NGO Forum on Indonesian Development (INFID)

Jalan Mampang Prapatan VI No.39

Jakarta, 12790

Okky <

4. Dr. George J. Aditjondro

Former Vice President of the Indonesian Environmental Forum (WALHI)

Indonesian academic dissident in self-imposed exile

Lecturer in the Sociology of Non-Western Environmental Movements

Department of Sociology and Anthropology

University of Newcastle

NSW 2308, Australia


1. Lot S. Miranda

HEKS Cambodia Programme

PO Box 445, Phnom Penh, 



1. Shabnam Merchant

International Liaison Officer

People's Alliance for Implementation of the Law, Thane, India

Email: Shabnam Merchant <

2. Nergis Irani

Convenor, Dahanu Chapter

Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage

3. Kitayun Rustom

Join Hon. Secretary

Dahanu Taluka Environmnet Welfare Assoc., India

Solidarity and endorsements from JAPAN:

1)Hiroko Kubota. University of Kokugakuin,member of JOAA

:Odawara-city Iidaoka106 kanagawa prefecture. Japan

2)Shinji Hashimoto. JAPAN:Ichijima Organic Farming Association


3)Kimie Tuda (Secretary of Osaka Organic Agricultre Association)

4)Hirofumi Asai (Representive of Polan Hiroba Kansai )Organic

Marketing Gruop

5) Reiko Sugahara (Polan Organic Farming Association)

Address: 4th Esaka-chou build 1-22-23 Esaka cho Suita-shi Osaka-fu


Tel&Fax :06-330-0749

6) Association for keeping Rice Culture in Japan

Representation director: Mitsukuni Inaba

Address: 72 Sayado, Kaminokawa-machi, Kawachi-gun, Tochigi,

329-0526 Japan

Tel&Fax: +81-285-53-1133


7)Non-Governmental Rice Growing Research Institute

Head Clerk: Mitukuni Inaba

Address: 72 Sayado, Kaminokawa-machi, Kawachi-gun, Tochigi,

329-0526 Japan

Tel&Fax: +81-285-53-1133


MASIPAG/Farmer-Scientist Partnership for Development

3346 Aguila St., Rhoda's Subd.

Los Banos, Laguna

4030 Philippines

Tel (63-49)536-5549 or 536-4205

Fax (63-49)536-5526

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