Our farmers are dying
(The Philippine Star) - November 21, 2019 - 12:00am

Our farmers are dying, and we as Grade 11 students think not enough people are aware of this. The very source of our food security and supply is slowly finding its way to a forgotten path, and the noise of our capitalism and ignorance seem too loud for anyone to hear their cries. In our country, farmers employ two-thirds of our workforce, yet they are the poorest of our country. As the growth of our economy has been heavily focused on industrialization, the rest of us have forgotten about agriculture and its importance. 

Every day, farmers stay under the sun working for hours on end to make sure that our country has food to eat. We forget that they keep us fed even on days where they can barely feed themselves. Let’s analyze this Awareness for Our Filipino Farmers situation – we are sure that the majority of the people in our country eat rice at least two to three times a week, so how is it possible that our farmers make up the bulk of our poverty when we pay them for our livelihood?

Throughout the years, there have been many laws that have negatively affected farmers, such as the  TRAIN Law and the Rice Tariffication Law. The TRAIN law increased production costs by 50 centavos, diminishing income by 10%. The Rice Tariffication Law on the other hand, was implemented with the purpose of solving the inflation in our country. Though it solved this, it seems that everyone in the country is benefitting from it except the farmers.

The production cost of palay is P12 per kilo, but is now only being sold for P17 per kilo. Some farmers even sell their palay for P7-P8 per kilo, depriving them from receiving any profit at all. Our farmers are choosing to stop selling rice because of this. On top of that, not a lot of members of the youth are interested in agriculture because of its stigma as a job of the poor.

What will happen if all of our farmers stop selling rice? But beyond that, what will happen if no one from the younger generations choose to keep agriculture alive?

Our farmers are dying, and with that, agriculture is too. It is important that we help them now more than ever. We suggest that people start buying locally produced rice, especially with the influx of imported rice in our country.

It is essential that society is aware of the current situation of our farmers.

It’s time we do something about the agricultural crisis. We must remember that despite their poverty, they choose to work all day, every day, to make sure that our country is fed. Treat every cup of rice you eat as if it's your last, because if our system continues to operate this way, day by day we will lose our farmers. They are fighting in a battle they did not ask for, and they are losing. We must realize that our country is heavily dependent on farmers for food, so every day they lose is a loss for us as well. – Caitlyn Danao, Andie Marañon, Bella Morallo, and Daniela Pedrosa

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