Saluting the Unsung Heroes of Agriculture in the National Year of Rice

Created on Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Dignified  and  proud  are what we want  the Filipino farmers to feel.
Unlike their  foreign counterpart,   our farmers pale in comparison to them in terms of wealth, standard of living, and  access to technology, but with  Presidential Proclamation No. 494, otherwise known as the National Year of Rice (NYR),  it is the aim of President Benigno Aquino and Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala  that  the ordinary farmer will no longer say to himself , “I’m just a poor farmer,” but with dignity , he can proudly say “ I am a farmer!”  
The AgriPinoy Framework of the Department of Agriculture has designed program  features for farmers to be the focal recipient of benefits. The NYR is a year-long celebration which aims to boost the morale of farmers  by prioritizing or catering to their basic needs in order  to attain their dreams. The question is how can that happen?
Just like a cocoon in the process of becoming a butterfly, it has to take the form of ugliness before it takes a beautiful form of a butterfly- the farmers too had stories of pains before they achieved economic upliftment.
The farmers  trying experience througout  the Philippine history has made the Department of Agriculture Regional Office reinvent its strategies  to capacitate the farmers in terms of access to technology as  the  centerfold of the DA programs. Through the leadership of OIC-Regional Executive Director Angel Enriquez,  the agency has targetted deliverables that will aid the farmers in their efficiency as farm managers.  Such targets are directly proportional to the goal of the region to produce 20.04 mt per hectare in 2013 and 22.7 mt per hectare in 2016. The task is doubled by the goal to maintain the per capita consumption of rice at 120 kg/ per person.
The wearisome routine in the farm  may indeed decimate the farmer’s inspiration to pursue his noble job with the undulating price in the market  making him a  loser at times . But  the testimony of a couple  in Toledo City proves that the emergence of farm mechanization has been instrumental in uplifitng their economic status.
 Julio Alingawa , who has been farming for 30 years, stood the test of time  when  he experienced the ups and downs of farming and yet fervently pursued it. “There were times when expectations turn into frustrations when floods and strong typhoons devastate my farm but my zeal to continue prevails.” Now, he looks back, though not totally complacent  of calamities that may strike, but the thought sinks in him  that farming finally  made him enjoy the fruits of his labor. “ That fulfillment cannot be achieved without the help of adopting technologies introduced by the DA, “ he said. The tractor economized his farm labor by 50%, and that’s how he earned big savings allowing him to buy vehicles to mobilize his farm business and a comfortable  concrete house for his family.
Florencia and Julio Alingawa testified how the tractor economized farm labor and ultimatley improved their income.
Boosting the farmers’ morale- a major goal of the NYR , may well be achieved if farmers gain the confidence in sharing their triumphs in adversities- an experience that not only comes to the fortunate, but to the ones who would persevere ,  and are eclectic in both adopting information and  technologies.  
The future probalities of each person, must be instilled in each farmer to achieve their dream and destiny in life, for had Jun stopped farming on the fifth year , he would never have seen comfort in life.  But Jun is just one of the few successful voices of the estimated 21 million farmers and fisherfolk in the country today. The struggle goes on for the millions who have yet to unshackle themselves from poverty and yet have painstakingly contributed in feeding the nine billion mouths in this planet.

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