Power move

Sun.Star Cebu - - LIVE! - NOEMI FETALVERO noemife­[email protected]­hoo.com

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?

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