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The Vegetable Industry - The dying department of the Philippines



| On 13, Oct 2012

It’s still a large percentage of the Filipinos loved vegetables. Notwithstanding the availability of fast foods, processed foods, instant meals and many more more, people in the Philippine will still love to cook their own meals which include vegetable dishes.

An eatery nearby said that she prepares 3-5 vegetable dishes without any meat inclusions, but still being patronized. This just shows that Filipinos are still into munching greenies. The department of Agriculture stated that both urban and rural had high demands for the vegetables.

But, a shocking revelation shows that the Philippine vegetable industry was one of the industry that continues to die down.

According to the Forcus on Poverty, the Philippine vegetable industry  has been ill for a very long period now. They even dubbed the industry in “comatose” stage and may die anytime soon.

When I asked a neighbor about this, she doesn’t have the idea. Why? It’s because farmers are caught in the tradition of planting vegetables and fruits even with small earnings. We can consider these farmers as the martyrs of the agriculture business.

Now, why is this happening?

Negligence

Food is the primary need of humans right? But, a legistrator admitted that the Philippine government has lesser attention to the vegetable farmers and the laws protecting them is quite vague. Remember Jamby Madrigal? She exposed that the loans for farmers are not allowing them to earn money,  but to be drenched in huge debt. That’s why farmers opted to stay away from farming and what’s saddening, they opted to do illegal things.

The government should admit that there’s no established law yet that are protecting the rights of farmers into satisfying profits. In example, the Banaue Rice Terraces was completely left and ignored as locals opted to make souvenirs that are quite profitable than farming.

Privatization

The Philippine history stated that our ancestors can own a land based on how far they can clean. But, as years go by, rules over power it and it’s ok, it organized the land ownership. But, what’s unknown is that the rules were loop-holed and these discrepancies were used by the influential groups and individual to little by little own a large percentage of farm land in the Philippines.

It’s not unknown that a larger percentage of farming land in the Philippines were owned by private sectors. But, what’s more surprising is that even the different factors in farming like irrigation was pushed to privatization. In 2010 report by the Manila Bulletin, small scaled-farmers fought to “stop water privatization”. Farmers from different provinces protested in front of Asian Development Bank’s main headquarters in Ortigas, Pasig City, to denounce the Bank’s push for privatization of water services.

Privatization will also lead to smaller profits of small scale farmers.

Inflexibly response to changes

Big changes like modernization techniques, adjustments to climate changes, mutated pest controls and many more factors remained underutilized specially to our small farmers. Way back 2010, when we visited my mom’s home place in Pangasinan, I observed that farmers are unable to adjust with modern ways to farming. I asked a local farmer if he knew something about organic farming, drip farming and many more, he said he has no idea at all. I also observed that farmers are planting corns that will be just be used as feeds to their back yard chickens, which is just a waste of time.

When I followed a question if local governments introduced them with modern farming, he just said that “wala namang pakelam gobyerno (the government is ignoring us)”.

If we’ll go to the Human Heart Nature farm in Bulacan, you’ll see that it utilizes modern techniques, but natural and safe farming. The farmers are using organic materials like animal manure, worm composts and many more for the soil. Farmers of the company are well paid and quite happy, resulting to very productive farmers. I salute the owners of that company as their advocacy is to uplift the spirit of farmers in the Philippines.

Other industries versus farming

Mining has been a hot issue in the Philippines, owners of mining companies said that mining is safe and it affects nothing. The Executive Order 79 protected farm lands and plantations in the Philippines. This law restricted mining companies not to excavate the land near and in farm lands.

But, an issue took over. In example is the case of Tabuk Valley in Kalinga, which is dubbed “Rice Granary of the Cordillera”. This place provides more than P2-billion worth of rice in the Philippines. But, as early as 1980’s, when the Batongbuhay Gold Mines Inc. (BBGMI)  in Balatoc, Pasil, Kalinga was in operation, the trailings of the company poisoned the water irrigation of the farms resulting to stubborn farms in the region.

Hespian.org made a report about the hazards of mining to humans, plants and environment.

On October 13, 2012, the documentary show of ABS-CBN, Failon Ngayon taled about mining in the Philippines and I’m shocked by the result of the documentary.

Other industries that is not a partner of agriculture were electronics, telecommunications, and many more.

A conclusion

I don’t have any against the government, the private companies and individuals. But, let me compare. In America, individual farmers stated the highest income to any single proprietor in the country. A female American friend of mine auditioned in the reality show “Farmer needs a wife” as she knew farmers are rich and this is because the government are showing full support to farmers. Here in the Philippines, it’s the other way around.

Let the very small voice of this blog to at least reach the leaders. Make laws that will support the farmers to, at least lessen their costs to at leas let them earn more hat will soon benefit the country and it’s people.

Vegetable industry in the Philippines is already in coma stage and may die any soon. But, we can still revive it.

Learn more the author of this post:

Ringo
I am Ringo and allow me to say not an ordinary man. I've been working home base since 2009 and as of now, has no plans of returning to corporate. Web designer. Frustrated chef. Foodie. Good son (ehem!). Good father (to two labrador retrievers). And, a servant of God.

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