EL NIÑO is not the only threat out our food security. As more and more people are opting to live in cities and would rather work in the comforts of air-conditioned offices instead of growing agricultural products and livestock under the searing heat of the sun, our country might be plunged into a severe and irreversible food crisis.
Aside from the fact that many agricultural lands have been converted into industrial and residential real estates and the dwindling production capacity of the remaining farmlands due to the damaging effects of climate change, the biggest threat on our ability to produce a sustainable food resource is the rapidly decreasing number of farmers – and even fishermen. There might come a time when there would be not enough farmers and fishermen to sustain our food consumption requirement; we could be forced to rely on imported food products which may lead to a devastating food and financial crisis.
If we cannot stop this widening shortage of agricultural workers, there might come a time that we can no longer buy any fresh produce even if we have the money to buy them.
Nowadays the younger generation doesn’t want to get their hands dirty. They would rather work night shifts as call center agents rather than work on farmlands. According to Department of Agriculture statistics, the average age of farmers in the Philippines is 57 years old and it estimated that the country’s shortage for farmers might reach critical stage in the next 15 years. We could be confronting a severe food crisis due to our disappearing farmers.
The government should start setting into motion an actionable formula which would generate a new breed of Filipino farmers, to guarantee that the country will continue to have people nurturing the country’s agricultural and livestock farms. For example, the Department of Education could include in their curriculum subjects that fuel interest and inspire students to pursue careers in agriculture and animal husbandry. The Commission on Higher Education, in collaboration with the country’s state universities, colleges and other institutions of higher learning that offer agricultural courses, may create farming scholarships.
The younger generation should be also thought that farming, when paired with high technology, could be more enjoyable and more financially rewarding than most professions. We should inject new blood into the agricultural sector and the government should really work harder to modernize our agriculture. With the use of high technology and modern agricultural practices, farming can be fun and financially rewarding.