Short Summary

MASIPAG is a massive, farmer-led network of people’s organizations in partnership with NGOs and scientists. It encourages seed-sharing and traditional knowledge while promoting farmer control of genetic and biological diversity, agricultural production, and associated knowledge. MASIPAG farmers primarily grow rice.

Website address:

Location (city, state/province, nation): Philippines

Logo. source


On average, each Filipino person eats 100–103 kilograms of rice per year. The majority of this rice is grown by small-scale farmers, who make up 80% of total producers (Bachmann et al:p. 111). Internationally, more than two billion people depend on rice and rice-based systems for their livelihoods (FAO).

At a local level, MASIPAG’s impact includes (cf Bachmann et al.):

  • Improved food security
  • Greater food sovereignty
  • Better health outcomes
  • Higher incomes

A MASIPAG farmer describes how MASIPAG farmers are distinctive:

...They are free to choose their technologies and are able to implement these in their farms, from the choice of seeds, enriching soil fertility to managing pests and diseases of their crops and livestock. In the MASIPAG farmers is the desire to discover and find other methods for the farm and to gradually restore the culture of cooperation. (Bachmann et al: Chapter 7)

MASIPAG in numbers (as of 2016):

  • It reaches around 30,000 farmers in 63 provinces, and for every farmer-member of MASIPAG, there are three farmers using MASIPAG seeds.
  • 188 trial farms maintain a minimum of 50 traditional rice varieties each. There are two national back-up farms and eight regional back-up farms.
  • 70 farmer rice breeders, 12 farmer corn breeders, and more than 100 volunteer farmer trainers.
  • Responding to adverse agro-climatic conditions brought about by climate change, MASIPAG has documented farmer-bred rice and TRVs with particular adaptation: 12 flood tolerant varieties, 18 drought-tolerant varieties, 20 saline- (saltwater-) tolerant varieties, and 24 pest- or disease-resistant varieties.

The MASIPAG approach encompasses the following elements (material adapted from Bachmann et al. Chapter 8, figure 1.3.):

  • Farmer-scientist-NGO partnerships
  • ... run as a process of mutual, ongoing learning between farmers, scientists and NGOs, where all participants trust the farmers' and farmer-breeders' own field experiences.
  • Farmer-led research
    Research, including breeding of new rice varieties, is designed and conducted by farmer-members for farmer-members. The normal form of "knowledge management" is to Pool & Share.
  • Farmer-to-farmer mode of diffusion
    Training in the network is largely conducted by farmer-trainers using a wide range of techniques, including trial farms, exchange days and cultural activities.
  • Opposition to technological fixes
    Change is understood holistically and farmers are empowered to use their knowledge so that they can control the technologies, not the other way around. MASIPAG tends to rely on Convivial Tools. Technological fixes don't.
  • Advancing farmers’ rights (source)
    This includes farmers' rights to land, seeds and genetic resources, production, biodiversity, politics and decisionmaking, culture and knowledge, information and research, and sociopolitical factors.

Learning from Seed Mothers, a visit to Amunda Village in Odisha/India, October 2017 in the context of Stop Golden Rice Network activities. source


MASIPAG utilizes bottom-up peer governance. Organization, decision-making, planning and implementation all come from farmer-members. These functions are coordinated through farmer groups and a decentralized organizational structure.

The MASIPAG approach is not just "farmer-centered and bottom-up," it systematically encourages commoning. Farming families learn and work together in groups. These groups, or people’s organizations (POs), form the basis of the system.


MASIPAG has collected and maintained more than 2,000 rice varieties. There are 600 traditional rice varieties, 1,299 MASIPAG rice varieties, and 506 farmer-bred rice varieties.

Friends & Partners

512 peoples’ organizations are members and partner with MASIPAG. This includes 41 NGOs, 20 church-based development organizations, and 15 scientists.


Short description of some aspects of funding

YOUTUBE tkzCTUViRvs Maria Rowena Buena, MASIPAG's Research and Education Coordinator, explains the challenges that small-scale Filipino farmers face and "how alternatives trhough organic rice breeding and growing and agroecological practics help farmers generate more resilient crops and strengthen their community in the face of climate shocks."