CAGAYAN DE ORO

Sunio: From agriculture to commercial use

Touché

GIVING up lands that are seemingly “no longer economically feasible and sound for agricultural purposes” does not seem to sound right. Why would you give up on a source of food and livelihood for people?

Lands used to produce rice, corn, and products that feed an entire nation are being converted for commercial or residential use.

Republic Act 6657 or the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law allows the conversion of such unproductive lands for residential, economic, or industrial purposes five years after the awarding of these lands to their owners. These lands have formerly been awarded through the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (Carp).

It may perhaps be sound to reason that instead of allowing barren lands to stay still, it would be better to convert these to something more highly-profitable or more usable purposes such as by constructing commercial or residential complexes in the areas.

However, given the rice crisis in the Philippines, giving up on such lands is not a very productive choice.

Food is a staple need among humans. It is ranked higher that other needs that humans have.

In order for the Philippines to bridge this need given the rice shortage that the country has, it has been importing rice from other Southeast Asian countries.

However, rice importation is just a band aid solution. There is even the problem on the rising prices for rice and other food.

What’s worse, we may be raising the rates of this crisis by bulldozing lands that are “no longer economically feasible and sound for agricultural purposes.”

Agricultural technology is still finding ways to revive formerly and potentially irrigable lands. Science is also finding ways for plants to endure environmental changes—all for the purpose of feeding people.

By this, we should not give up on agriculture and our agricultural lands.

It may be true that we are increasing the ability of the citizens to purchase food and their other needs by allowing them to establish businesses in these commercial complexes, but it does not solve the dipping food supply of the Country. Furthermore, the benefits are reaped mostly by the middle class who could afford franchises and can establish medium-scale businesses.

(rizsunio@gmail.com)


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