“WHO will cut a tree when it is just bearing fruit?”
The analogy was raised by President Noynoy Aquino in his recent State of the Nation Address (Sona). I wanted to hear about the farm to market roads that would ease up the delivery of farm products to the urban areas.
I can understand though that the projection of self-sustenance, as far as rice production is concerned, has not been met due to the El Niño and the flooding of rice fields in some areas of the country. However, the government could have assured Juan de la Cruz of more affordable fruits and vegetables in the near future.
What good will it do if our country becomes the second rising economy in Asia if our countrymen cannot even afford to eat three decent meals a day? According to Sociologist Nicole Curato, 10 percent of Filipinos are suffering from hunger. Pnoy mentioned the fertilizer scam during Arroyo’s administration that certainly did not benefit the farmers. What then has this present administration done to compensate for that loss?
In his Sona, Pnoy also reported that our land record system is much more improved. In a cadastral survey reported, there are 3.7 million hectares of land available as opposed to 1.2 million hectares in the previous years. With this information, why can we not implement urban farming and make use of this vast land? Of the $6.2 billion in direct investments and P1.24 trillion in domestic investments, I am most certain that a percentage invested in vertical farming is plausible if we care enough.
We keep constructing high-rise buildings that make our cities look like a modern metropolis, and then a few meters away are shanties of Filipinos who do not even have toilets. How about building tenement houses for the poor like the ones in Hongkong, and then in the same building introduce vertical farming so the poor can have a livelihood project?
Residents of Henaville Subdivision in Compostela, Cebu are getting busy planting crops alongside the Cotcot river. Urban farming is the way to go. You are able to taste fresh vegetables and at the same time have quality time with nature.