Agro-Eco Philippines started its development work with the poor farmers in Mindanao as early as 1991. Its existence and sustainability up to this period is attributed to the active involvement of the Church people, civil society organizations, local government units, and more importantly, the voluntarism of the farmers who are very active in carrying out the programs of the organization that led them out of disenfranchisement, exploitations and rural poverty directly linked with pesticides-dependent conventional agriculture.
From 1991 up to the early part of 2000, Agro-Eco Philippines which was then using the name Masipag Mindanao had grown to be an expanding network of sustainable agriculture practitioners and advocates in Mindanao with very minimal costs due to the knowledge sharing among farmers, Dioceses, NGOs, referrals and altruism.
On August 19, 2004, the organization had registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) as MASIPAG Mindanao, Inc. or Farmers Scientist Partnership for Development with registration no. CN200429504. For years that followed, the organization had achieved rapid growth and expansions reaching more communities, organized more farmers’ organizations, empowered more farmers, conducted more mobilizations and protest actions, and accomplished tremendous tasks and development programs, which made it a known development organization at the national and international level.
After the General Assembly held on August 19-20, 2016, the members of the organization have decided to adopt a new name in response to its organizational evolution and growth, and to serve more farmers in other parts of the country. Thus, the name MASIPAG Mindanao, Inc. had been changed to “Agro-Eco Philippines, Inc. or Farmers and Advocates Partnership for Agroecological Development.”
The name Agro-Eco Philippines is taken from the term ‘agroecology’ which emphasizes integration and wholeness in sustainable food production system and economic growth vis-à-vis environmental protection. Meanwhile, Agro-Eco Philippines was formally incorporated in the second half of 2016. Now, the name Agro-Eco Philippines is synonymous to an aspiration to reach and serve more poor farmers in the country.
Furthermore, Agro-Eco Philippines describes itself as a network of smallholder farmers and their organisations. It claims a membership of about 4,000 individual farmers in 300 farmers’ organisations in Mindanao, eastern Visayas and eastern Luzon. Its main goal is the assertion of the people’s right to food, reduction of hunger in poor farming communities, improve the living standards and increase the adaptive capacity of farmers to climate change impact through agroecology, social enterprise, advocacy and international solidarity.
To date, there are many initiatives across the country that have the same technological components as Agro-Eco Philippines. However, Agro-Eco Philippines have realized that technological intervention (rice breeding, conservations, organic fertilizer making, etc) by itself was narrowly-focused and did not address other aspects of the development of organic farming systems, resilient farming communities, and agroecological transformation.