What magazine do you read these days?
When I went to a 2nd hand books bookstore here in the Philippines called “Booksale”, I browsed the current publications of magazines in the Philippines. Booksale has a reputation of being frequented by artists, intellectuals and avid readers to explore new things from old books and magazines alike. Although they also offer newly published local and imported books and magazine publications, there are only few.
One that surprised me was to see an Agriculture magazine. It is being published monthly by Manila Bulletin to update the public on the current trends in agriculture in the country. It is a growing business. After all, the nation is mainly an agricultural land. If there’s one thing the country can successfully offer to the world market, I think that would be natural (organic) products. No wonder a lot of investors are coming to the country to explore its natural resources and manufacture them using their technologies; it is since the Philippines is having a hard time making its own technological industry.
But because of the natural ingenuity and industrious character of Filipinos, we find ways to adapt to the changing needs of the country and the world. Innovative ways to improve food production and food security measures are fast coming to fruition. Sustainable crops are a variant of staple foods that farmers are now growing. In this issue, I learned of traditional white corn being produced in Pampanga, a province located in the Central Luzon region. Despite not being a popular one to grow among corn farmers due to low market demand and smaller economic returns compared to the popular yellow corn, one farmer here prefers to grow this traditional corn. This crop is a sustainable one and has cultural value. One local delicacy called “binatog”, which is a merienda or snack I like when I was little, is one food that can be made out of this unique crop, white corn. It is the first time I learned about white corn where this snack I used to enjoy when I was a child is made from. I rarely see sellers of this delicacy these days in Manila, even in our place in San Pedro, Laguna. I remember when I was in grade school, there were still some binatog sellers roaming in bicycle around the village to sell this as a snack in the afternoons. The bike has a pail with cover tied and placed carefully at the back. The pail is the container of the binatog, the boiled white corn kernels. And this street food seller will serve one order with a cup-full binatog topped with grated coconut and sugar. It is so delicious. This street food used to be a popular Filipino snack here in the Philippines. And another dried white corn product is “kornik”. Usually, these white corn food are available in the provinces of Luzon.
There is also a growing fondness for lettuce in the country. It is a favorite staple ingredient for salad lovers. And salads being made in the country are usually the organic ones. A growing number of lettuce farmers are having regular buyers for this vegetable. Along with these lettuce being grown are usually the cherry tomatoes and other herbs. Various organic ways to repel insects in order to replace the use of pesticides are also being done. Aside from it, having a chicken farm and even raising rabbits to make fertilizers rich in nitrogen are farming and gardening ideas that enrich the landscape of agriculture in the nation.
Having trellis in a garden especially a vegetable and herb garden is such a lovely scenery. Especially if the vines growing there produce flowers. And more so if there are hanging vegetables. It is so nice to harvest them.
So from greenhouse construction to producing organic products, how to grow in the organic business to venturing in sustainable crops, being a supplier of raw ingredients to understanding the demand in food, you’ll learn a lot in this magazine. Many authors of the articles are experts including scientists and professors, practitioners and enthusiasts in the field.
All the positive vibes in the business in agriculture sector including soil improvement, you can get it here. I think restaurant owners, will also benefit from this magazine. They can have an overview of local produce that can be potential suppliers of organic products straight from the farms and gardens.
And the best part is you get to know more of what you eat, how you can be a part of the success of agriculture in the country, which is the industry that is very important in the development of the nation’s economy.
Geographically, you’ll also learn of the culture and natural resources abundant and being raised in the regions. There are many programs that the government and non-profit organizations are being done to help farmers produce the best quality food to be available in the local market. And these are our assets that we also play in the global marketplace.
In my opinion, knowing our strengths and weaknesses in the global economy in terms of our geography is a wise thing to consider. We’ll know more how to play wisely, when we know our assets. We’ll come to know our liabilities as we go along and manage how to balance and keep safe. The agricultural industry in the Philippines is one that can give us our best yield economically. Fiscal measures are important but the support from the grassroots to the local consumers will definitely play an important part in the success of industry building in the country.