Cultivating a vibrant future for agriculture in the Philippines
I was born and raised in Maragondon, Cavite in the Philippines. It is a town where the horizons are painted with endless fields and the air was always filled with the scent of earth. My grandparents took me in when I was just a toddler. They would wake up as early as 4 a.m. to start the unending cycle of sowing and reaping. My grandmother, the one featured in this video, was a woman of few words but immense strength. Indeed, she was the heart of our small household.
Every grain of rice on our table was a testament to her dedication. Life in Maragondon was simple but full of challenges. I remember when typhoons flooded the fields, and my grandparents would watch helplessly as their hard work was washed away. My grandparents have since passed away, and we have sold our field. The last time I heard they were converting the rice fields to grow some grasslands for commercial purposes.
As I look back in the golden fields of Maragondon, under the same sun that once watched over my grandparents, I found a sense of sadness. I cannot help but think about the future for the next generation of Philippine workers. With an average farmer’s age of 57 to 59, it’s clear that agriculture in the Philippines is an aging sector. Farmers, battling hardships, often push their children towards urban jobs or overseas work. This demographic shift points toward a looming crisis in farming manpower. Data shows that in the Philippines, the poverty rate among farmers is high, at about 30%, compared to the national average of 18.1% as of 2022.
The challenge remains. My most people in my generation do not know a single thing about farming. The agriculture sector desperately needs revitalization and modernization. For me, it’s not just about continuing a tradition. It’s more about ensuring food security and economic stability for the Philippines. My family’s story, like many others, is a call to action to reimagine and reinvest in Philippine agriculture, making it a viable and appealing choice for future generations.