BACOLOD CITY, Negros Occidental, Philippines – Agriculture is key to survival.
With the CoViD-19 pandemic affecting nations and practically crippling certain economies and rendering countless jobless, Silay Councilor and Philippine Councilors League president Ryan Gamboa believes that the key to survival would be agriculture.
Gamboa, who himself comes from a family of sugarcane farmers, reveals to DNX that during the pandemic, he decided to diversify and go into different kinds of farming, and farming methods, including dabbling in organic farming.
The board member said one of the enlightening experiences he had was when he visited areas affected by the pandemic and realized that the hardest hit constituents are the poorest of the poor in the urban areas, like the informal settlers. The residents in rural areas and the uplands were not as affected relatively because people in the highlands are planting crops, thus they have something to cushion their hunger.
People in the urban areas, especially the informal settlers, do not have the same opportunity because of the lack of areas to grow food.
“That is why we are encouraging everyone to do it, to be self-sufficient in order to survive,” Gamboa said.
This could also be applied on a much larger scale, Gamboa said.
The need to increase productivity of farmers should be addressed, and urgently, as there is a looming gap period looming which is July to August, Gamboa said, quoting Provincial Agriculturist Japhet Maculino who said that food sufficiency might be affected because of the weather.
Citing countries like India which subsidizes greenhouse for farmers, encouraging self-sufficiency and at the same time improving productivity, Gamboa said there is a need now to investing in aid for farmers, as well as spend for mechanized farming.
With a possibility of a rice shortage, the board member looks at treating agriculture as an integral part of surviving by coming up with long-term sustainable programs that would bring back people’s interest in farming, especially among the younger generation.
“We should bring back dignity to farming,” he said. He said programs and courses on farming should be offered to younger people to entice them to the industry and ensure that farming as an industry will not die out.