Does farming has a brighter future?

The students of the Central Philippine University College of Agriculture, Resources and Environmental Sciences do their laboratory exercises at CPU Zarraga Farm (photo courtesy of Jovelyn Villegas).
The students of the Central Philippine University College of Agriculture, Resources and Environmental Sciences do their laboratory exercises at CPU Zarraga Farm (photo courtesy of Jovelyn Villegas).

“Study diligently and don’t be like us. We kept on struggling but the luck is away from us”. This is a familiar anecdote from parents whom the livelihood depends on farming. These words are instilled in the heart of the younger generation that led to the lagging of agriculture in this country. They preferred to enroll in courses other than agriculture because of those words and unprofitable farming enterprise of their parents.

On the other hand, reports showed that the average age of farmers in the Philippines is 57 years old. It is alarming in the sense that it threatens the availability of food supply. This nation needs younger agriculturists to supply the need for food of the ever increasing population. It is projected that by 2050 the population of this country will be about 150 million individuals. Who will feed these people if the agriculture sector will be undermined?

Convincing the millennial generation to go into farming can be arduous task to do. It will always narrow down in the query as “Do farming has a brighter future”. Mostly would not believe for a profitable farming enterprise considering the present position of our farmers.

They are facing with the menace of natural calamities, unstable price of produced, higher production cost, highly competitive market due to globalization, and the rapid urbanization. These are some of the risks which can’t be managed easily as to the predisposing factors associated with it.

The increasing population and the rapid economic development are some of the premises that can be contemplated for the future of agriculture in this country. Food is one of the basic necessities and there is a room for opportunity in it. The farming is the ultimate source and always shines for good thing to those who are wise enough to carry out it. Here are some of the suggestions in making farming as a profitable enterprise:

Set goal/s in farming. This is important before venturing into farming. It will serve as a guide in setting up the direction for the said enterprise. What do you envision about your undertakings in the next few years or in the long run? Nothing will happen to farming if someone who is running it is comfortable with the present situation.

Manageable land area. The wider the farm does not guarantee for higher return or profit. Always consider the unit return per square meter of land being utilized. The concept of farming employed is on how to increase profit. It was found that the volume of production may not at all times reflect for bigger profit to the farmer. The manageability reflects for the available resources in terms of human and capital that can sustain the operation.

Select initial enterprise/s derives from your hobby. The success in farming does not come in just overnight. It may take time before bounty harvest will be attained. However, once the harvest starts, it will be sustainable. The struggles prior to reap will be easier to those who have avocation on it. The determination to achieve something is crucial during the rainy days in farming. Starts small out of your hobby and gradually widen or expand as the need arises.

Utilize wastes as inputs of other enterprise. It was found that larger percentages of farm produced went into waste products. For example in rice production, the milled grains are the final produced. The wastes are the hay, unfilled grains, rice hull, bran, and middlings. These can be utilized by feeding the hay to ruminant animals and composting of unpalatable; processing the unfilled grains, bran and middling’s as feed to native chickens and hogs; and, the rice hull as soil conditioner, litter materials in animal housing, fuel for cooking, and as source of heat for brooder heater. This implies that out of one enterprise, other projects can be developed. It is a matter of how innovative the farmer-entrepreneurs in developing various projects that will be complementing with each other. This is the concept of Zero Waste farming.

Calculate the anticipated risks. This can be narrowed into the preparation of feasibility study. It may not need to prepare the complicated one but the simple farm plan can do. The information which can be included are the lay-out of the farm, packages of technology to use, volume and quality of farm produced based in the demand of target market, value-adding processes, and financial considerations. With this, the farmer will have an idea of what will happen if ever the engagement or implementation will commence. It will be easier to manipulate the changes if ever the anticipated risks are uncontrollable.

Search for new technologies. Agriculture is a dynamic enterprise. The development is a continuous process. Every year new technologies emerge and those engaging in farming should abreast on it. However, not all of the packages of technology will be applicable but choose those viable for incorporation in the present undertakings and available resources. The adoption of advancement in agriculture can bring competitive advantage to those who are applying it.

Guidance from Above. Seek always the guidance of High Above for every proposed project. No words can ever explain how He works
on it.

Indeed, there is brighter future for farming. The success depends to those who knew on how to manage the calculated risks, innovative to grab the opportunities, have the passion in farming, and ingenious to manage available resources. Farming is not just a profession but a vocation. This industry needs more individuals with open heart and mind to fed the world. Have a profitable and fulfilling engagement in FARMING!

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Dr. Jaime C. Cabarles, Jr., president Dean, College of Agriculture, Resources and Environmental Sciences, Central Philippine University.
Dr. Jaime C. Cabarles, Jr., president Dean, College of Agriculture, Resources and Environmental Sciences, Central Philippine University.