Tuesday, April 15, 2008

NBI's Task

The editorial cartoon is another repartee over rice shortage issue. The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) was one government agency tasked to run after rice hoarders. Anyway, in a dinner over chicken bar-b-que in one of the busiest dining places in Matina (Davao City) last night, I could not help but chat about the real score about rice shortage issue in the country today.

I was with two ladies from a non-government organization here. When it comes to working closely with the farmers in various parts of Mindanao, Emely and Julmar are veterans and are true-blue community development workers who have helped a lot of farmers in the countryside in developing organic farming system. They have accumulated significant knowledge about rice farming using organic farming system they vouched to be one answer to our agricultural woe in the country. Both are experts in nature farming technology system, a farming system that relies on fermentation as farm inputs. I asked them about their opinion on the issue that earlier GMA denied to be happening.

In her opinion, Julmar said that there is rice shortage. She said that this was their position during a radio interview with Paul Palacio at DXAB 1296 about a week ago. I missed the program. And why the Department of Agriculture (DA) said that there was no rice shortage, Mr. Palacio asked. Emely’s hard-hitting reply was: “Paul, the DA does not know what is happening on the ground.” How come they know when all that they would do during their monitoring is ask the farmer from a distance (highway or road) about their farms and if there are problems - all the poor constituents would do is go to the DA laboratory. That is why they call DA personnel as “highway technicians.”

In their opinion, land-use conversion is one big factor for the rice crisis. In the case of her relative, about 20 hectares of ricefarm are now planted to Cavendish banana. It's given. With 20 hectares converted, it means that rice output in the region was reduced drastically. Emely also claimed that Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) is guilty for allegedly tolerating land-use conversion when they allegedly allowed agrarian reform beneficiaries to convert so that they (ARBs) can repay the government. However this only complicated the matter, she said, because when they pay for due of the land given to them, ARBs have ironically accumulated debt with the banana plantation. No way out.


When I peeped through my car’s window during refuel last night, I was jolted to know that the price of premium gasoline was Php48+. I don’t know where was I before I know that this was not a big joke. I realized now that I should drastically cut down on the use of car and commute more often instead.


Shaoie said...

It is practical indeed to walk because you can save fuel and money. More so, walking is healthy for your health.

Above all, you help save our environment when you do so! God bless, Dong!