As soon as the rooster crows or even before the sun rises, Nathanael A. Fabila, a notable rice farmer of Kidapawan City, got up early as he usually do on a daily basis since 2003 when he seriously involved himself in rice farming. He cannot afford to be late for his palay plants located in Brgy. Inas, M’lang, Cotabato, a 30-minute ride from where he resides, needs constant monitoring. Harvesting is forthcoming in few days. Besides that, he is expecting visitors from the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI)-XII for an interview and documentation of his 2-hectare rice farm.
During the interview, Nathanael or Nathan as he was fondly called by many, revealed that “Rice farming is not the kind of work I imagined while still in grade school”, although this has been one of the major concerns of his parents ever since and where he was also involved on a part-time basis because he was busy studying from elementary until college. While still a kid, he used to assist his father, Mr. Orlando Fabila, a notable teacher turned into a rice farmer in the rice-growing municipality of M’lang, in many of his activities in the farm. Later, he also assisted him in their 5-hectare rubber farm in Kidapawan City. That is the kind of work he grew up with.
Back then, any kind of agriculture courses was not appealing to him. He took Bachelor of Science in Commerce (Accounting) and finished it in no time. After graduating in college and made his way in one of the cargo handling services of the Lina Group of Companies for six years, his foot prints in the farm was never seen for the same period of time.
His passion for rice farming was awakened again in 2003 when he got back to seed production and fired further when he joined the SOCKSCKSARGEN Seed Industry Council in 2014, an organization composed solely of rice growers of Region XII. Prior to this, he had attended various rice training courses offered by the Department of Agriculture (DA), Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI), and the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI).
Nathan finally found his place in the society. He knew he can do something in the government’s call for realizing food security, availability, and affordability. His inbred rice produce had reached far and wide. Rice farmers, individually or as a group, visits his farm not only to buy seeds but to ask questions about rice farming. Nathan considers every encounter with his fellow farmers, particularly the walk-in clients, a chance to share what he knew about rice farming and the chance to clasp hands with them who seldom gets credit for feeding the growing population of the country.