February 24, 2010 in Featured
This might be a little late now – what with corn fields drying up and rice farms being abandoned by listless peasants because rice stalks are wilting and rice paddies are cracking up due to the lack of water.
Fishponds, too, are endangered because of the extreme heat. Low water levels in dams which provide household water, irrigates farms and generates electricity compounds the problem. Nobody is actually spared by the adverse impact of the El Nino.
But we cannot just sit and watch as the literal life blood of the country’s economy – water – dries up. This is a national emergency that transcends partisan politics at a time when we as a nation is gearing up for a general election.
The impact of this extreme weather condition will certainly be disastrous to the agriculture sector, especially among the peasantry in the days and months ahead. Just three months ago, most of the farmers lost much of what they have planted because of the ravages of typhoon Ondoy and Pepeng. Now they have to contend with the drought, and summer has not even started yet.
Let us remember that many of our peasant folk usually take out loans to start the planting season, borrowing money for seedlings, fertilizers, pesticides and other agricultural inputs and hoping to pay their debt with a good harvest. But with two planting seasons lost and with debts piling up, it is not difficult to imagine the dire straits they would find themselves in the months, if not years, ahead.
But it is not only the peasantry that will suffer as a result of this on-going disaster. Since a majority of our citizenry still relies on agriculture and its related industries, trade and commerce would certainly feel the losses suffered in the agricultural sector. Even farm related industries like those in fertilizer and pesticide would certainly feel the impact of the decline in agricultural production.
And all this would be taking place at a time when our exports are in doldrums because of the on-going recession in our traditional export markets – the more advanced economies of the West. So, this leaves us with very little room for manuever in terms of economic growth.
Perhaps, it would be the remittances of our overseas foreign workers (OFWs) that will keep many Filipino households afloat. With the farms unproductive, expect also more able-bodied Filipinos, men and women alike, seeking their economic salvation abroad.
All in all, the economic prospects do not look good for the months ahead. Let us just hope that some immediate measures will be undertaken by the outgoing administration to save our farms and alleviate the plight of the peasantry especially. Let this be the number one priority of the incoming administration.
Let us also hope and do whatever we can to ensure that we will have a fair and credible automated elections come May 10. Otherwise, we will have a deadly mix of economic and political crises in our midst come summer time. That would spell disaster for all of us.
So, let’s start saving the farms to save this nation.# nordis.net