Investing in Sustainable Future in Rural Communities
Today, I had the chance to reflect and remind myself why we continue to do what we do. Despite the challenges we face as private individuals heeding the call for rural development, minsan gusto mo ng huminto, but is hard to turn your back to stories of hardships and stories of inspirations. For many people who were blessed to experience finer things in life, it is hard to listen to narratives of poor economic returns from agriculture from our rural folks. Yet, they still continue to farm. To many of our farm families, farming is not just about growing food for their families and their community, but also a way out of poverty for their children. Minsan nakakalungkot. Family farming should not be a WAY OUT of poverty; it should be our WAY IN to sustainable future. But to many farm families, the situation is more of the former instead of the latter. To our family farmers who are farming as their way in to sustainable future, let them serve as inspiration to us and models to emulate.
Trends dictate that what comes around goes around. Now is a good time to make a complete turnaround and make farming part of our lifestyle. What do I really mean by that? Well, we can still be doctors, fashion designers, engineers, architects but as long as we eat, but it is important to remember that we are directly/indirectly part of the agriculture sector. You may ask, what about those who eat but cannot farm? Then, we must willingly accept that it is our responsibility to support the people who choose to stay in agriculture; we must support those who opt to stay in our rural communities to take part in the rural development; we must extend help to create sustainable communities. Yes, collectively, they are our shared responsibility. Let's all become an influencers, doers and workers for sustainable future!
This I believe is the sustainable meaning whenever we say that AGRI plays a game changer role. Our agri programs, policies, projects, etc. must sustain people lives, yes, quality lives. As mentor, trainer and community stakeholders, we all should play a proactive role in strengthening the knowledge, values, skills and services needed by our family farmers, especially the women and the youth, to overcome the challenges they face and open entrepreneurial opportunities for them. We all need to invest in our rural communities, particularly to our rural youth if we want to invest in sustainable future.