It’s no secret that our local farmers are not getting what they deserve—especially when it comes to selling their crops. And with the COVID-19 pandemic, Filipino farmers are one of the sectors directly affected as transportation of goods was halted for a few months, which led to the rotting of crops.
In addition, the Rice Tariffication Law was enacted last year, which removed restraints on the importation, exportation, and trading of rice were removed. The good side? Rice prices dropped in the market. But the bad side of it was farmers got the shorter end of the stick as their crops hit a new low on the selling price. (Read: 5 Suppliers Who Source Fruits and Vegetables From Local Farmers)
And with the low prices, more and more farmers are struggling in the upkeep of the fields—an opportunity that greedy capitalists prey on through buying the farmers’ lands and putting up subdivisions, shopping malls, or other commercial establishments. If this will continue, there would be no more fields and our once agricultural country will be importing rice instead of exporting it.
So how can we help our local farmers stand their ground (pun intended) and continue to cultivate the land for our food? Here are some tips.
How to Help Filipino Farmers: Buy Locally Produced Rice
One of the most obvious ways is to buy rice locally instead of getting imported brands. More sales of rice will increase demand, therefore making it a priority when it comes to locally produced goods. Sure, rice prices are pretty low in the market right now, but because it is imported, there’s a chance that global market players jack up prices or restrict supply—how would we cope if the local rice industry is dead?
How to Help Filipino Farmers: Eat What’s in Season
If you buy and eat food that is being harvested according to the season, not only are you supporting our local farmers, you also save money because “in season” fruits and vegetables are often cheaper than those that aren’t. For a start, why don’t you switch your regular salad greens like lettuce or spinach to our own local Philippine spinach? (Read: 3 Tips to Extend Shelf Life of Fruits and Vegetables)
How to Help Filipino Farmers: Support Farm-to-Table Initiatives
Farm-to-table initiatives focus on producing locally grown produce and using it in the restaurants or delivering it straight to your door. (Read: New ‘Table-To-Farm’ Project Helps Aetas in Zambales Grow Their Own Food) It might be a little expensive compared to others, but at least you know where exactly is your food coming from and that it is helping local farmers continue to cultivate their land.
How to Help Filipino Farmers: Stop Haggling
Yes, money is tight. And who doesn’t love discounts and bargains, right? But have you ever thought about the hard work that the farmers went through just for you to have that kangkong in your pork sinigang? And don’t forget about that steaming cup of rice or two. Growing isn’t easy. It sometimes takes months for certain types of produce to be ready for harvest. Pay a fair price to our local farmers so they could earn a decent living to grow more and expand. Stop the tawad practice, please.