Tell It to SunStar: Agriculture in Peril

By Jake Flourence Camasura

NATIONALISM in the Philippine setting is something that is slowly fading, especially in the midst of dumbfounding waves of globalization, blindly eroding nationalistic views and economic agricultural independence.

As competition goes, the agricultural sector of this country is still striving to synchronize itself with the scales of importation. It is ironic that this country’s trump card, agriculture, is still one of the most left behind sector in this country. Countless of local farmers still fail to flourish because of the intense pressure of globalization.

Senator Cynthia Villar, chairwoman of the Senate Agriculture and Food Committee, exhorted local farmers to convert their farm lands into tourism and farm schools, to uplift their income. This was after local farmers are burdened by the weight of imported agricultural products due to laws that opened the doors to liberate imported products coming to the country.

Villar must also consider the ownership title of the farm lands. Mind you, not all farmers own a farm land. Sometimes, they only rent a land to continue their livelihood. Also, not all farm lands are capable of converting into tourist sites. A farm school may be justifiable, but a tourist site is not.

If Villar really want to push the establishing of farm schools, building it on every farm lands is not really necessary. Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (Tesda) had already that kind of program, so why build farm schools. The cost of the construction of schools will surely amount to millions of money. It will really be better if that money is used to uplift the economic status of the local farmers and put them into economic trade spotlight like giving them incentives to improve their harvest.

Turning all agricultural lands into a tourist attraction is a fatuous idea. Can we eat money that the tourist pay for the admission? Can it solve astonishing hunger that the country is experiencing now? If we rely on this problems by outsourcing agriculture from the other countries, then it’s already like we’re leaving our nationalistic views, neglecting our own trump card. Also, not to discriminate the abilities of the farmers, do all the farmers has the ability to manage a tourist site? Lawmakers must consider this kind of situations.

This country should balance both nationalism and globalization. We must set up an environment in which locals could thrive and flourish amidst the pressures of globalization in this country.