(Mem­oirs of an Agri Jour­nal­ist)

Agriculture - - Five Reasons - BY ZAC B. SARIAN

IN OUR LONG YEARS of writ­ing about agri­cul­ture, we have met a lot of peo­ple–or­di­nary farm­ers as well as the white-col­lar work­ers–who went into some kind of farm­ing. Why did they go into farm­ing? Here are just five rea­sons (surely, there are many more).

1. As a fall-back po­si­tion. An en­gi­neer in a cho­co­late fac­tory re­vealed at the Agri-Kapi­han that he de­cided to raise poul­try and swine although he was re­ceiv­ing a big salary. His rea­son? He dreaded for that day when he could be fired from his job for one rea­son or an­other. He said that he had wit­nessed many other em­ploy­ees who were re­trenched due to poor busi­ness. Hav­ing his own farm, he said, could cush­ion the im­pact of the pos­si­bil­ity of los­ing his job one day.

2. As an out­let for frus­tra­tions. One civil en­gi­neer who used to have a lu­cra­tive road con­struc­tion busi­ness sud­denly found him­self with­out roads to build and build­ings to con­struct in the mid-‘70s. So he went back to his home­town in Nueva Ecija. Out of frus­tra­tion, he bought a 20-hectare hilly land so he could do some farm­ing. He planted mango trees not for any­thing else, but to keep him oc­cu­pied. Later, he found out that farm­ing was re­ward­ing af­ter all. He had just sold a mil­lion-pe­sos worth of his mango har­vest when we met him. And that was a very big amount in the 1980s.

3. A farm to brag about. We re­mem­ber a habitue who reg­u­larly at­tended the Agri-Kapi­han in the 1990s. Af­ter re­tir­ing early from the real es­tate busi­ness, he owned sev­eral prop­er­ties in Manila that he rented out to other busi­ness peo­ple. His ren­tal in­come gave him more than enough to sup­port his fam­ily and be able to live in Forbes Park. In­ci­den­tally, he had only one adapted child.

He bought a one-hectare prop­erty in Pan­sol, La­guna where he planted a wide col­lec­tion of fruit trees and or­na­men­tal plants that he fan­cied. He pro­duced a lot of fruits like Abiu, av­o­cado, cit­rus, mango, banana, sinegue­las, rambu­tan, lan­zones, and many more. But he did not sell his har­vest. He gave most of them as gifts to friends and rel­a­tives. He just loved to brag about his farm. 4. To re­cover one’s san­ity. One fel­low con­fessed at the AgriKapi­han in the 1990s that he bought a farm to get rid of his bad habits that in­cluded gam­bling and wom­an­iz­ing. In farm­ing, he found peace and tran­quil­ity. Farm­ing, he ad­mit­ted, gave him back his san­ity.

5. Forced by cir­cum­stance. Ciony Oc­ta­viano of Zar­raga, Iloilo, was a man­age­ment con­sul­tant in Manila when her par­ents asked her to go back to her home­town. The fam­ily owned 18 hectares of farm land and be­ing the only child, there was no one else who could take over the op­er­a­tions of the farm. So in 1998, she was forced by cir­cum­stance to be­come a full-time rice farmer.

In the 1990s, she used to come to the city to at­tend the AgriKapi­han to learn farm­ing ideas as well as to share her own ex­pe­ri­ences. She loved to tell to other Agri-Kapi­han at­ten­dees that farm­ing is ful­fill­ing. She felt good know­ing that she was help­ing feed the na­tion. She said that farm­ing made her life more mean­ing­ful, and was very proud of be­ing a farmer.

An en­gi­neer who had no con­struc­tion jobs due to the poor econ­omy in the 1980s, bought a farm and planted man­goes as out­let for his frus­tra­tions.

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