The Covid-19 Pandemic is totally unexpected. It didn’t just create a detour in our plans but totally erased our plans, forcing us to craft a new one. It has brought down the economy of the world. Personally, our small investment in stocks was greatly affected like all stock markets worldwide. Our stock portfolio has plummeted and I have no idea when it will recover. The pandemic has resulted to deaths and near deaths, of whom some are dear to me.
I am deviating from writing about agriculture as my previous blogs were about and write about something that is current and somebody I treasure.
At this time of Quarantine, having a child with Autism tries not only my patience but also my wallet. My son Gab, who is now 13 years old was diagnosed early on to have Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). It is difficult for him to be homebound after being in school every day. Actually, he looks forward to going to school because it means that he will get to eat snacks and lunch from his favorite fastfood stores.
I always have the notion that Urban Agriculture here in the Philippines is just a cliche. While it may exist, it is usually confined in the really urban cities like Makati and that the agri part is more for tourism and aesthetics. That it is done not for food security but rather because it is the "in" thing. The notion also came from the fact that very few in the subdivisions in Cagayan de Oro where I presently reside have really gardens in their backyard. A house may have 1 Malunggay (Moringa Oleifera) or a few plants of okra (lady fingers) or green leaf onions or even tomatoes.
There is something soothing and life affirming when you see a seed grow and bear fruit amidst the chaos that surrounds it. This could very well be one of the motivations of CPT. Regidor Duldulao of the 1st Special Forces Batallion based in Mampayag, Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon. Despite a background in Electronics Communication Engineering and the Philippine Military Academy, Capt. Duldulao considers himself a farmer. He plants vegetables and flowers all over the Camp.
I am fascinated by fairs. Moreso, if it highlights a certain agricultural product. Just recently, I visited the Strawberry Festival in La Trinidad, Benguet. I am amazed at how products and ideas sprout from one small, red fruit.
I used to be afraid to visit a jail. This perception has been formed by the movies that I saw where the jail is portrayed as a place of chaos. But since we at ATI Northern Mindanao conducted a Season-long Training on Urban Vegetable Gardening inside the El Salvador City Jail, that fear has ebbed a little.
Extension services continue to evolve. With the challenges that extension workers and farmers face, the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI) continues to explore various strategies to improve its efforts as the extension and training arm of the Department of Agriculture. In over 30 years, the ATI has celebrated various successes and learned from the lessons during hard times. Nonetheless, we are proud to be standing the test of time through the support of our partners and the clientele themselves. This is the ATI Today, more committed to bring you extension services beyond boundaries.