We, representing the peoples and grassroots of Asia, state our strong stand on the issue of RICE in Asia and call upon all those responsible for agricultural and food policies at national, regional and international levels to take immediate action to safeguard the rice heritage of Asia.
Rice – the Life of Asia
Rice is Asia’s most deeply revered treasure. It is central to the Asian way of life; its culture, spirituality, traditions and norms. The staple food of three billion Asians, half the world’s population, Rice is Life to the people of Asia.
Rice has been grown in Asia for the last 7,000 years. Recent findings in China indicate that this may in fact be 10,000 years. Local and traditional rice varieties and ecological rice farming have sustained Asian rice farmers and consumers safely for most of foregone decades.The core elements of this rich heritage of rice are enshrined in the “Five Pillars of Rice Wisdom”. These are: Rice Culture, Community Wisdom, Biodiversity-based Ecological Agriculture, Safe Food and Food Sovereignty.
We resolutely protest against:
• The use of pesticides and synthetic fertilizers on our rice farms. Rice-ecosystems should be conserved.
• The use and depletion of ground water in rice crop cultivation.
• High-input varieties and hybrid rice. Our local, traditional and farmer-bred rice varieties are good enough and healthier for us.
We resolutely reject:
• GE Rice. We do not want to feed ourselves or our children GE food in any form. We will unequivocally oppose the introduction of GE rice in Asia.
• The genetic modification, patenting or external ownership of our rice seeds in any way. There should be No Patents on Life!
• The WTO and its conditionalities and control over food and agriculture.
We resolutely condemn the actions of organizations like the International Rice Research Institute in collaborating with industry against the good of rice farmers and rice cultivation.