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‘Alarming, saddening’

Farming

DUE to the dearth of employment opportunities and lack of industrial activities in many parts of the Philippines, rural people, particularly farmers and fishers, continue to abandon the countryside.

In fact, this “alarming and saddening” situation has pushed agriculture into a sorry spectacle, slowing down government efforts to transform sleepy barangays or villages into flourishing communities.

Of course, nobody can blame these hard-working but impoverished rural dwellers for seeking “greener pastures” in urban centers, like overcrowded Metropolitan Manila (MM), and foreign countries.

It is no wonder, therefore, that Sen. Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. is spearheading a nationwide move to encourage the young generation to go into farming as part of efforts to attain food self-sufficiency.

In pushing for the early passage of Senate Bill (SB) 1422, Revilla said there’s a need to fully utilize and maximize the capacity and potential of the youth in promoting the agriculture industry.

The bill seeks to create the “Magna Carta of Young Farmers,” which establishes mechanisms for the protection of their rights, given the fact that the average age of Filipino farmers is 57 years old.

The proposed law will also institutionalize young farmers’ representation in various decision-making and agricultural policy-making bodies initiated by the government and the private sector.

In this Southeast Asian nation of more than 100 million English-speaking and election-crazy people, farmers are getting too old for what is a back-breaking work, according to statistics.

However, it is certainly disheartening to note that our youngsters, lured by the “glittering opportunities” in Metropolitan Manila and foreign lands, are not keen on taking over their family farms.

And we share the view of the movie actor-turned-senator from Cavite that there’s a need to encourage our youth to go into farming since the Philippines still remains an agricultural country.

By approving the proposed “Magna Carta of Young Farmers,” Congress is on track in transforming our rustic villages from Batanes in the North to Sulu in the South into flourishing communities.