PBBM: What could be the best time to galvanize Philippine Agriculture? It looks like even if the budget is unlimited, its always business as usual. This is the very reason I have to stay put so I could make a difference but it seems everything is so slow. Ka Mon, you are even talking of Blind Agriculture. Meaning I am a blind leader leading the blind in Philippine agriculture? Now everybody is saying we will definitely have a RICE SHORTAGE and that time is running out on me.
KA MON: Yes, Mr. PRESIDENT. Indeed time is running out on you and waits for no one even if you are President of the Republic. Former President Marcos had the same problem and so with the other Presidents, rice being a political commodity and measures the success or failure of your administration.
The problem is whatever he did before can not be repeated like changing the traditional variety of rice into high yielding varieties as IRRI did. Or, shifting the farmers from natural farming to chemical farming which needed a high profile public relations campaign where my friend Ka Sonny was the technical consultant to the then ACE Compton Advertising Agency (now Saatchi & Saatchi). Thru a massive radio and print campaign converted the whole country from natural farming to chemical farming (which must now be reverted back because it has made our soils toxic that will be irreversible in 3 to 5 years which is now under your watch as DA Secretary) or even giving an order similar to the GO 47 requiring all profitable corporations to import rice for their own employees with the option to produce it themselves where many corporations lost millions because they did not know how to plant rice even with mechanization and hiring the best agriculturist.
An exception is MERALCO FOUNDATION that was convinced by Ka Sonny to take the option of "Farmer Linkage" of which he was also the consultant. It was then incorporated into CORFARM and became a top earning corporation providing more incomes to the farmers that linked with them.
Unfortunately, it later became bankrupt because it failed to include the partner farmers in its profitability and did not supply the raw materials anymore even as it has the most modern rice processing complex in the country.
The rest is history.
PBBM: Well, why can I not do the same now?
IRRI is still there, and China is willing to sell to us their Urea and I now have the veterans of this era as Senior Undersecretary, etc.
KA MON: Well, Sir, the times are different now. As opposed to the advices given to you now, our farmers are already using high yielding varieties which you now subsidize (therefor you could no longer double their yields per hectare).
Our soils are now toxic because of using too much chemical fertilizers [for which reason Ka Sonny as I said earlier has collaborated with OpinYon Publisher Ray Junia to organize the SAVE OUR SOILS (S.O.S) Movement to bring back the natural fertility of the soil and to campaign for BioFarming Systems with an S.O.S Summit in January 10, 2024) in an attempt to help you galvanize Philippine agriculture.
This is, if you can calendar to join the summit not only as a Guest but also a participant in its workshop.]
PBBM: Ka Mon, you are giving me some ray of hope that I can still do something about Philippine Agriculture.
KA MON: Yes Sir. But if you think you can not do it try Catch 22?
PBBM: And what is Catch 22?
KA MON: This means you go to Sweden and let the experts do it.
PBBM: And why should I do that?
KA MON: Sir. That is only a euphemism. To better understand what I mean like Ka Sonny always says "read my lips".
(NOTE: This column is published in the OpinYon.net every week)
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