THERE is an attempt by the Duterte administration to shift from being an agricultural country to an industrial one. This move is backed up by data that reports a six percent increase in population while our agricultural sector generates an increase of .02 percent annually. The big disparity in initiative fluctuates though, as demand and supply of agricultural products varies.
Last week, tons of fruits and vegetables were disposed as trash. The justification given was oversupply of production. The waste could have been avoided had farmers been taught how to deal with production surplus. “Sayang,” was the cry from Filipinos who watched the news about the wasted tons of fruits and veggies. We have orphanages, shelters, prisons, informal settlers and institutions like Don Bosco Boys Home, providing food and shelter to some 150 street children that could have been happy recipients of those fruits and vegetables.
Food is the most essential commodity and, in fact, integral for our survival. Our agricultural sector is more often than not challenged by global warming and climate change. The hardest hit by any storm or other forms of calamity are our rice fields. Presidents have made campaign promises for rice sufficiency. However, don’t you think it is time that we give up that dream? We cannot compete with our Asian neighbors in rice production for the simple reason that we do not have natural irrigation systems. We have to build and maintain our irrigation systems which are costly. Probably, if we eradicate corruption in the government, it may be worth the consideration.
It is about time that we venture on other products that we consider viable for export. It’s a shame that we are tagged as an agricultural country and we are importing rice, fish and garlic. Our farmers need substantial support from our government. It needs an effort from inter-agencies not just from the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources and the Department of Agriculture.
I believe the shift to industrialization is a desperate move to solve the unemployment problem. China is a highly industrialized country and being such, it has to sustain its energy resources. Could this be the underlying reason why China is encroaching our ocean territories for our natural gas? Should we embark into industrialization, could we continue to provide fuel to operate our factories?
Are we ready to change course midstream?