Rhod TecsonAt least I have made it to another issue. Thank’s to Manong Boy Cabado who begged off for two consecutive issues already because of the system’s failure he has been going through the past days. Get well soon, dear friend. And oh, I miss Freddy’s already.

As I write this column, the thought of Father Elmer Cajilig’s orgasmic enthusiasm in organic farming lingers in my mind like a virus attacking the system of Manong Boy. Pads as he is referred to by the media community disturbed the silence of my Monday dawn from nowhere when he called me only to tell me that he is going into farming,-(organic farming to be exact.)

It’s very irritating when your sleep is summoned to an end by a telephone call. We do it only during emergencies. But Pads, did it. He knows how to blend my irritation though. The reason and the topic is farming which is of course a topic that I never would want to miss.

He was in a hurry telling me that he just discovered what stomata culture farming is and that for the rest of the night until dawn he was with his farmer friends discussing the matter and of course the value of agriculture in every Filipino-the Philippines being an agricultural country.

He said he already went to their idle farm land in Guimaras and initiated talks with a few people to help him set up his farm. My mind was starting to gather the thoughts it let float while asleep. I was thinking how he did it in a short period of time. In silence, my mind suggested a name for his farm-Married Priest Organic Farm or Chickboy Priest Farm.

Then he went to tell me that he plans to culture sili, talong, tomatoes, and a lot more. He said he was inspired by how my Red Lady Papayas earn me a living each week. I will have another competitor by then.

If I will enumerate all his points and ideas, the space left vacant by Manong Boy is not enough.

I am sharing this to arouse the senses of every reader. I want everyone to wake up. The talks of economic development today in our country is real. Only that it has to be exploited to its fullest. The next issue that will surely confront every one of us is sustainability.

Economists are wary that if we fail to perk up the key factors that could sustain today’s growth, we will go back to square one. These key factors are tourism and agriculture.

I have always believed that in agriculture comes tourism. Now is the best time for everyone and I mean all people and sectors to give agriculture in general and farming in particular a tempting look and make love with it and marry it.

Of course, there are thoughts that farming is something that the un-educated do. The vivid picture of a farm man riding his carabao is still prominent. The time is ripe though to change our outlook towards a man tilling his land.

The problem with our country is that we all wanted to go to air-conditioned offices and dress in  clean suits. When the PC thing came into the picture, every body wanted to become computer engineers and when the value of nurses abroad soared, everyone wanted to work as nurses.

We are an agricultural country. Our children are not simply talented they are actually intelligent. Let us make use of these talents and minds to improve the productivity of our hardened soil. The academe must also do its share in investing to the brains of the children that agriculture is the Filipinos’ way of life.

Our primary educational system provides the young generation a glimpse of agriculture by way of requiring a student to maintain a plot of dwarf roses and bougainvillas. It is usually done after the flag ceremony. The student who fails to water his/her plants gets a whip or a bark from the teacher.

Our secondary education is much better but far from best. Agriculture is an elective in Home Economics. Those who does not want to be confined inside the walls of the classroom choose Agriculture. A little push of the wheel borrow, the student gets an A grade.

Even In Iloilo City which is considered as the hub of education in the region, only Central Philippine University offers agriculture. And you can count the number of students by your fingers.

The system of our education needs an overhaul if we want Agriculture integrated in the central nervous system of the youth. Education is an investment. If we wish to control the brain-drain in our country, albeit opinionated and wild, I would say that teaching the youth that money is plenty in riding a carabao is the solution.

Like Pads, it is not yet too late for everyone to become a scientist in their own way inside the corners of their farm. (Pads, by the way stop  buying shorts. Use long pants to protect your legs from insects and sharp grasses in your new farm.)