Davao farmers slam jathropa planting, Biofuels Act

Jan. 20, 2008

As the debate over the Biofuels Act gets hyped in the Senate, the militant farmers group, Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas Southern Mindanao Region, pitches-in its piece on the issue.

Foreign-funded Jathropa plantations are encroaching on agricultural lands and it only adds to the existing laws and policies that cause food deprivation among the poor Filipinos like the 70% farmers and farm workers in the country, Celso Pojas, KMP-SMR spokesperson said.

He said KMP received reports from their members that 300,000 hectares of land in Compostela Valley alone are targeted for jathropa planting.

According to Pojas, Jathropa investment is one of the agri-business investments so defined in the development framework of the Arroyo government which is causing the economy a great loss, and less food on the table for the poor and landless.

Pojas lambasted the Arroyo government saying biofuel production would only make the foreign and big local capitalists richer.

Pojas recounted the statement of Noble Peace Prize winner Dr. Martmut Michel and UP professor Teodoro Mendoza who categorically said that biofuel production is counter-productive to food production.

Production of biofuel over what the Filipino people primarily need reflects the unbalanced, unplanned, anti-people and pro-capitalist development scheme of the Arroyo government, Pojas stressed.

This shows clearly why the Macapagal-Arroyo government has no real intention to distribute lands for the poor farmers and indigenous peoples. It wants to maintain ownership of vast tracks of lands up for grabs by foreign multinational companies in cahoots with the local landed elites, Pojas concluded. #

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