The Sumilao Farmers of Bukidnon has a reason to rejoice at the moment. San Miguel Corporation has agreed to give them the 50 hectares of 144 hectares of land at Bukidnon. However, to be able to own the remaining 94 hectares, they must all pay for it within 30 years otherwise, the SMC will take it back again from them. This doesn’t seem fair for the farmers who all their lives have been feeding the whole country with their heart and soul.
At the BBC World Debate this afternoon, I was surprised that the World Bank admitted that they made a wrong decision back in the 90s when they didn’t pay much attention to Agriculture because they thought that the private sector will take care of it. Now, they promise to engage in developing Agriculture especially in the 3rd World Countries because they know that the farmers from poor countries doesn’t have much choice but to sell their rice for cheaper price. Why only now? The whole world is now suffering from the sudden raise of the price of rice. Didn’t they see it coming? Corporations said there is rice shortage but the farmers said otherwise. There is enough supply but these greedy Corporations are hording the rice to raise their price and put the blame on the farmers. The truth is farmers have never received an honest payment from any Corporation. Even if these poor farmers demand for an extra cent, it will still be not enough .They are even threatened by industrialized farming which will be ecological a disaster for all of us. Do you know that most farmers cannot even afford to buy rice for their own family? The people who feed us cannot even feed themselves and this is because they chose to spend their money for irrigation, farming equipments, and keeping a fertile land to farm.
I would like to quote Sarath Fernando of Sri Lankan Small Farmers Association during the BBC World Debate in response to the question Is large scale farming solutions the only way to guarantee a reliable supply of affordable food for all?, he said, “Farmers are like rabbits, being asked to compete with tigers”.