People usually think that the worst thing that can happen to a country is war, or a calamity that can take the lives of thousands. This is somewhat true but people are being oblivious to other terrible things that can cause a country’s downfall and one of them is the scarcity of food that can lead to mass hysteria and famine. With the entire country turning its back on issues like this, this can be witnessed by our generation anytime soon. Our first line of defence to nationwide issues like this is our farmers. Our farmers cultivate, maintain, and provide the resources that we need to produce meals on our tables. We can’t always rely on food imported from other countries as they also have their own countrymen to feed and that is why we need to protect our own farmers as they are what is keeping us from our actual downfall. Luckily, the government is doing what they must to shape programs for the famers in the Philippines. These programs are continuously being honed and improved in order to adapt with the changes of time and to provide the needs of our local farmers. With concrete solutions and consistent programs is how the government help the farmers in the Philippines.
Food Security and the Welfare of Filipino Farmers
The government is closely monitoring the welfare and security of our local farmers because this action is directly connected to food security. Since food security is the primary goal, which is in line with public health concerns as well, the protection of our workers who are making this possible should also be a main priority. The agriculture industry, as with most industries, was weakened at the beginning of the pandemic, this is due to the unforeseen effects but was immediately solved by efforts and programs by the government that helps our local farmers. Agriculture Secretary William D. Dar stated that the pandemic has brought new and more opportunities in agriculture, this includes the introduction of improved and modernized technologies with the goal of boosting productivity, there is also a plan for more investments in agriculture, and a goal of having a stronger coordination and collaboration with the local government units, and also the introduction to smart agriculture.
1. SURE COVID-19 Program
The Department of Agriculture also has Agricultural Credit and Financing Programs and services available and is accessible through their website. One of these programs is SURE COVID-19 which is an aid and recovery project that offers and provides working capital loans to registered agri-fishery MSEs, this includes single proprietorship, partnership, and corporation or cooperative. The goal of this program is boost farm productivity and guarantee food sufficiency during the pandemic.
2. The Rice Farmers Financial Assistance Benefit
The Department of Agriculture is also continuously distributing an amount of 5000 pesos of cash assistance to rice farmers that are under the RFFA or the Rice Farmers Financial Assistance and the FSRF or the Financial Support to Rice Farmers. This is bounded by the law and benefits almost 1.2 million rice farmers all throughout the country, mainly on the 57 rice-producing provinces. This program goes hand in hand with ensuring adequate and accessible but also affordable food for anybody that is affected by the ECQ or the Enhanced Community Quarantine. This is only a few examples of how the government help the farmers in the Philippines.
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3. Roll-On Roll-Off Terminal System
It is known that the agricultural production in the Philippines mostly consists of small-scale farmers. One of the problems that small-scale farmers face is the transportation of goods from their farms to their market. These small-scale farmers used to rely on numerous layers of intermediaries just to get their products across and finally reach their target market. This kind of setup increases the distance of the farmers to their markets. This has a negative effect to the small-scale farmers as the intermediaries tend to bargain down the prices of the products from the farmers but not reflect these price reductions to the consumers, thus the disconnection of the farmers and their market gives them less than what they actually deserve.
Back in 2003 the Roll-On Roll-Off or the RORO Terminal System, was introduced in the Philippines. The RORO program connected ports with major roads strategically to make it easier for farmers to transport their goods and to make direct trade possible. When the RORO program was established in 2003, it started with a total number of 36 routes and by 2016 there are 150 routes and the government is planning to add more. With the RORO system, the welfare of the farmers was improved since they receive higher revenues without taking the risk of increasing the consumer price.
4. High Value Crop Roadmaps
The government also help farmers in the Philippines by providing knowledge and insights to people about the importance of their jobs and why is it essential to take care and protect our farmers. The Department of Agriculture provides several roadmaps of high value crops that is available to be read on their website. These high value crop roadmaps show the plans for these crops for the coming year in hopes of levelling up the agriculture in the country. Basically, these are guides and strategic plans for a better and innovative crop industries.
5. National Rice Awareness Month
To raise awareness of the efforts and the sacrifices of our farmers, part of the government’s program to help farmers is through the celebration of National Rice Awareness Month. the Department of Agriculture and the Philippine Rice Research Institute heads the celebration of National Rice Awareness Month in the Philippines annually during the month of November. This is held in support of our Filipino farmers recognizing their undying efforts to produce what we put in our tables. This is a nice way of giving them the recognition that they deserve especially that most of the Filipino farmers are rice farmers, and rice is the most foremost staple crop in the Philippines. During the National Rice Awareness Month, people celebrate by recognizing the value of the food that we eat and where they come from, most importantly the people that do the most to make the reach our plates, especially now that we’re in the middle of a pandemic and in a global climate change crisis, both directly affects our local farmers.
Read Also: How Does Climate Change Affect Philippine Agriculture
Although the government is continuously implementing programs to help our local farmers, as individuals we too can help them in our own little ways. We can start by telling our young ones how important it is that farmers exist, especially in a country like ours. Filipino farmers play a huge role in maintaining the Philippine’s production of crops and livestock moving. Buy local produces such as local rice. Patronizing our own country’s products not only helps our local farmers but also helps with the country’s economic growth. Supporting local products and helping with livelihood programs keeps local industries alive and makes the Philippine identity more prominent. If you have a chance, but at a farmer’s market, this gives them guaranteed income without the reduction of cost caused by middlemen.
Bria Homes takes part in helping on shaping a better environment for our local farmers by offering sustainable and affordable house and lot properties, secured in sustainable communities. With the reduction of carbon footprint in Bria Homes communities, best believe that you are in a place that values ecological integrity. with solar-powered streetlights in all communities, the amount of energy consumes is greatly reduced, thus creating a more environment-responsive community. Besides being sustainable, Bria Homes continuous to provide Affordable (Mura) and of Great Quality (Dekalidad) properties that ranges from house and lots to condominiums.
Written by Rashid Mansan