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Food security

While it is spring in other parts of the world, summer is here in our midst. And just as spring heralds the blossoming of flowers and plants after winter, our summer here reminds us of the richness of our land, what with so much flowers and fruits all around.

And summer reminds us that the sun is out, the seas are blue and so full of life and the farms, with enough water, are all over awaiting to be planted. And that is exactly what we all should be doing to confront the rice/food crisis now, especially the officials of this land.

Rather than promise the people not to worry because the Philippines can import rice anytime from friendly nations, or allow reduction of tariffs to encourage rice imports to enter our country, all measures intended to even bring our people and this country into deeper dependence on food/rice supply on other countries, this government should start looking for the solutions to the food/rice crisis from within.

Bobby Bajenting of DAR answers confidently, “of course, our farmers can start planting rice now, or anyone else, IF there is water supply.” Can we have that water supply immediately? “ Of course,” came the answer of all others around who were present for a planning session about the April 18 Cebu climate change forum at the UC BANILAD, AVR 2, 8th Floor, - Bobby, Glen Green, Atty. Golly Ramos, Ms. Liza Osorio, Vinch Cinches and Dodong Rey Ramos.

Of course, if there are funds released for water immediately and all out funding support for our farmers and food producers, nothing is impossible. But is this possible with this present government?

Remember where the funds went which remain unexplained still, fertilizer fund, the supposed corrupted funds in various other deals. Remember also how Congress and local government officials love to spend their pork barrel and budget on roads and bridges, on foreign travel, on tourism – all not so connected directly with food production and our food producers!

Still, let us be proactive now that it is summer and especially now that the food crisis is already here. With or without government, what can we do as a people to assure sustainable food supply for all? And more importantly, what can we do NOW, SOON, ASAP?

There is no substitute for self-reliant food production. Imports and buying will not work when suppliers will refuse to sell their products, regardless of price. Ultimately, when the supply dwindles, the suppliers will want to use the limited, dwindling supply for their own use first, of course. We are seeing that now, with the premier rice supplying nations in the world already declaring their no-import policy in the midst of the global food crisis. Even Bohol is already considering conserving their own rice supply for their own needs.

So how do we start a nation-wide, unified, immediate, intensified food production campaign? We can start planting, in our own lots, in our parishes, in our neighborhood, in our communities.. We can support our farmers and other food producers. This government can channel and release funds immediately for guaranteed water/irrigation supply and for inexpensive rice/food production. No GMO and high yielding varieties please as these entail so much environmentally-unfriendly and highly expensive oil-based inputs. More production in more farms and lots of inexpensive, eco-friendly and even indigenous food items will be our most promising and sustainable path to our food security and even life now and in the future!

And as we plant and wait for the fruits of our food production, what can we do? We may be able to learn from the bible story of the multiplication of the loaves and the fish. There were so many to feed, and so little food supply. How were they fed?

A child shared the only food he had. That sharing started the ball rolling. With the Lord and prayers, the limited food items were able to feed 5,000 and more.

How do we meet this food crisis? What we can immediately do now is to start sharing, no matter how little we have, no matter what we have. We share, we pray and we all unite together as a people, with faith and determination, to resolve this crisis now, with solutions coming from us all and within our nation.

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