[OPINION] Are we food secure?

Christine Jodloman
We leave this to you not as a question, but a call to action

We are often grouped based on our generation. There’s the traditionalists, baby boomers, generation X, Y, and Z. However, all of these generations belong to the “foodie generation.”

We all love food so much that our most important question of the day would be: “What’s for breakfast?” Food is always a top of the mind for us. But have we ever thought about, “Will there be enough food to love in the future?” (READ: How food insecurity threatens us)

Agriculture, the art and science that makes it possible for us to have food, has always been with us. This is more so in the Philippines, an agricultural country.

At present, Philippine agriculture and its workers face the challenges of climate change, apathy in agricultural issues, declining age of young farmers, lack of agricultural profitability, food waste, among many other issues.  All of us need to help our agriculture sector cope with these problems.

How can the foodie generation revitalize and secure a sustainable future for agriculture? Everyone can be part of the solution. (READ: Ending hunger, ensuring nutrition by 2030)

Let’s recognize our farmers

For the foodie generation, food is life. But for our farmers, food is their life’s work. They have always been our everyday heroes, making it possible for us to have food on our tables. They deserve our recognition and empowerment. Yes, “magtanim ay ‘di biro (Farming is no joke).” Let’s not make the agriculture sector and our farmers a “biro (joke).” Let’s not be apathetic, let’s support policies and recent developments that benefit our farmers.

For those of us who can, let’s be the initiators of these policies and developments. Our farmers need innovations that can assure them of a good harvest and also agricultural processes that can ensure their health and the health of the environment. Our farmers also need policies related to sustainable finance, good farm-to-market roads, and access to markets.

Let’s be ‘woke’ on the present state of our agriculture sector

With globalization, the rustic appeal and lifestyle of the countryside, particularly in agriculture, has been overlooked in the Philippines. There is continuing urban migration especially among the younger generation who prefer to have jobs in the big and bustling cities. The average age of the Filipino farmer now is 57. Agricultural land conversion is also pervasive. With these present realities, the future of our food security is in an alarming state.

Knowing the current state of our food and agriculture will empower us to become more supportive and proactive about how we can contribute solutions in our own ways. Let’s be woke, and contribute solutions in any way we can.

Let’s invest in agriculture

We invest in areas that are a “sure win” for us. The agriculture and food sector is a sure win – food is a basic human need and key to survival.

We can venture into agricultural entrepreneurship (agripreneurship), and be agripreneurs! Agripreneurship is the application of entrepreneurship in agriculture. It is an opportunity and necessity in improving the agricultural sector, food security, and giving employment to those most vulnerable in society, especially the rural poor. Agripreneurship adds value to agricultural products, making it more competitive, and worth the investment.

Let’s be food-savvy

All of us may be guilty of wasting our food. We should not let this become a habit. Let’s buy, cook, and eat just enough. Globally, food lost or wasted amounts to around 1.3 billion tons every year – food that can feed the world’s hungry. So make sure your next meals will not add to the statistics.

We can grow our own food, too. It’s easy and fulfilling. We can have simple vegetable gardens in the convenience of our own homes. Growing our own food can save us time and money, and also help the environment. Schools can also be food-savvy by having vegetable gardens. School gardens can spread awareness to the youth on the importance of food and agriculture.

Let’s revitalize agriculture

Agriculture and food are connected to everything in this world. We need to embrace and appreciate it more. Revitalizing agriculture should start with each one of us. Let’s look at our agriculture sector through fresher lens, and with positivity. Let’s all work towards a sustainable future for our food by empowering our farmers through policies and innovations, being woke and contribute to the current issues of the sector, contributing to agriculture’s competitiveness by being agripreneurs, and having a sustainable farm-to-fork lifestyle in our own homes or schools. (READ: How climate change threatens our food security)

Are we, the foodie generation, food secure? We leave this to you not as a question, but a call to action. Let’s all work to revitalize and secure a sustainable future for agriculture! – Rappler.com

Christine Jodloman, founder of Food SECURE Philippines, a nonprofit organization in Midsayap, North Cotabato advocating for food security.