What did I mean by that? Let’s take a look at Philippine agriculture particular in the Visayas, in Negros Island – the Sugarland, for example. There has been noted increase in the cultivation of sugarcane for CY [Crop year] 2010-2011. Calendar year 2009 ended with optimism for many sugarcane farmers.
Dwindled supply of local sugar has come to highlight lately. This is followed by an almost 100% increase in the price of sugar in the retail end. Currently, sugar sells at around P13.00 to P15.00 per ¼ kg from previous P7.50. Indications point to a new round of figures settling in there. And we are talking of a multi billion peso national industry and not of loose change.
Supply of local sugar has never been at its lowest, and the situation is not imagined but very real. Supply has not been a problem to the traders, actually, as they can always bring in sugar say from Thailand. In fact they always did, and pointed to the “glut” to bring Filipino farmers down.
A token part of the take of traders has been transmitted to the producing sector this time, enough to cause what has now been observed as renewed activities by farmers. Good for the farming sector, this time it is the general consuming public that has been hit by Trade. Last time farmers were hit hard was in 2004 when they suffered about a hundred percent off from their best. What a coincidence, 2004 as now, happened to be Presidential election year. Bank rob and Narco politics during elections that Philippine National Police has talked about now appear like hao hsiao, but this is beside my point.
So, there is expected increase in sugar production for Crop Year 2010-11 to exceed expected figures for the current crop year. And this is likely to go until 2012. You see, what planters plant now will keep them going for another extra year. Ratoon or second growth crop is profitable than the first crop. Ratoon saves on major expenses like mechanized plow services and cane points for seeds. Farmers will have more reasons to care for the second crop. Optimism is mostly by greenhorns and small planters. Old timers are mostly not as optimistic. However, beyond 2012 is viewed as uncertain. And the sugar industry is far from its best in the past, if you call that progress.
Current Crop year 2009 -2010 is expected to close early. Some mills have run out of canes as early as this month of February. DPCMA was the first to close for the season and words have it that it is going into a sleeping beauty again until another prince of a banker bails her out. Compare them to the times when mills must close in May, for at least a month of maintenance work in preparation for the next milling season. Longtime pessimism among our producers has resulted to the situation.
The industry has its history. Unless changes are instituted history will just play on and on, again, again and again. There are farmers who are hopeful. They can be fooled, again, again and again, and they will still hope because there is nothing else for them but to hope. There are ones who will rather wait and see. They want to see real and concrete changes in place. And this wait-and-see stance by the producing sector has long been hurting everybody.
Sugar trading in this country has its history. Traders have their nature – buy low sell high, which is universal and beyond which is none of their concern. It is State’s obligation to see that nobody is left out, not theirs. To expect people to buy high sell low would be insane. Only states can possibly do or effect things to that. Some of them are called nationalized trading and/or subsidies. They are also known as government regulations.
We have the producers – farmers and millers, in one hand. We have a multi- billion industry that one might milk plunder if they can seat on top of it all, in the other hand. You see, the road to progress has many such forks that anyone in power can easily get lost. Now who’s going to play fair, impartial, just God, and deliver the farmers, big and small, from hell, folks? OK, it must be purgatory but seemingly perpetual and long enough to be hell.
And to my friends and former classmates out there, [Iko, Macao, et al], is not riding the small farmers you call peasants to go against the big farmers you call landlords becoming quite obsolete? Model 1917 T-Ford are no longer fashionable. The world has evolved. Have not we been trying to kill the now wrong tree? Under some sets of conditions, possibility of better benefits for farm workers points to bigger farm units. At the same time, possibility of cheaper consumer products again, also points to bigger farm units.
No, I’m not saying that it is the small farmers that should be eliminated. I’m saying is that breaking up big farm units and limiting land ownership to 5 hectares – called Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program, is made crazy. It doesn’t even win seats in town councils nowadays if that’s what it is all about.
The political clout of the landlord class has gone long time ago. NASUTRA or National Sugar Trading Administration that was instituted for them once upon a time has long been hi-jacked and buried deep forgotten in the dustbin of history. Sugar Regulatory Authority [SRA] in its place is totally useless as far as stability and good price of sugar for the farmers are concerned. Today, Landlords are only slaves to the more powerful traders. Farmers can only take what is handed down to them. To survive landlords have to push where it is softer, incidentally the farm workers, if you call that real political power. And that explains the slave conditions of the farm workers that nobody can do anything about.
Maybe you should train your scopes and sights, in your own way, at the Compradores, instead? Or, stick your sharp steels and arrows at their horses and vermin, at least. Isa isa lang matindi ang labanan. Sa Kongreso, siguro, puwede sabay-sabayin sa-sampo 🙂 Question there is how will we get seats in congress when we cannot even win seats in town councils 😦
If we look at social problems deeper than social classes, the real problem there is actually what sapiens sapiens call self-preservation, selfishness or greed when at its worst, which is something that is also universal. Well, I guess not all have the opportunity to exercise greed, of the kind and magnitude we are talking, except those who are in power.
Anyway, courageous Lady Senator does not apply to me. First, I happened to be a mason-carpenter. I have discovered long time ago that I cannot just nail a board or lay a block on nothing but air. Meaning, even beliefs must have sound basis – historical basis, at least. Second, people have rights to vote for, against, and yes, abstain. Until I see things real, I guess, I’ll persist in reserving my rights to say I-have-no-part-to-do with-you when [or if ?] situation comes to worst. 😦