Supporting cooperative’s push for food security
In an endless expanse of gold and green along the plains of Guimba, rice farmers are getting ready for the harvest. To them, the exposure to the sizzling summer heat is just a small price to pay for long-awaited fruits of their labor.
The harvest season may have been a festival of sorts as imagined by ordinary people enjoying the sweet scent of newly-cooked rice at their tables. But to the farmers, it’s a temporary sigh of relief from toiling the fields, as they look forward to resume planting again for the next cropping season.
“I want to help them. Coming from a family of farmers, it is my dream to see their lives improved,” Joshua Carlos Padua, 25, said.
Joshua is an officer of the Cooperative Enterprise for True Economic Reform or CENTER, one of the biggest cooperatives in Guimba, Nueva Ecija. While many young people are veering away from agriculture, he decided to give back to the sector that helped him finish his studies.
“I finished accounting technology in 2017. When provided with the opportunity to work with CENTER, I immediately grabbed it,” he said.
His work involves managing agricultural supplies like fertilizers and pesticides that are being loaned by the cooperative to farmers. He coordinates with suppliers to ensure availability of these supplies.
With these outputs available, along with the partnerships CENTER is involved in, the farmers can access more support that could help them produce more rice.
In partnership with the Peace and Equity Foundation (PEF), the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice), and private hybrid seeds producer, Corteva Agriscience Philippines, CENTER is conducting a field trial to test the viability of PHB85 variety, a new hybrid variety known for in producing a higher rice yield.
With these developments, Joshua said he believes that his aspirations for the cooperative and the rice farmers of Guimba are slowly being realized.
“My dream is to see CENTER open more opportunities to farmers, like how they opened opportunities for me,” he said.
He also advised young people pursuing working in agriculture as their career to work hard and learn new things to improve their skills.
“There will always be a time of bad harvest. But instead of giving up, you need to strengthen your resolve. Someday, you will reap the benefits of your labor.”