On the Undervalued and the Overrated

Some eight months into the pandemic, our agricultural production has grown by 0.5%, the Philippine Statistics Authority said.

We should thank our planters, farmers and fisher folk—the legit plantitos and plantitas—for sustaining their production.

After all, a daily diet of Sky Flakes or Quaker Oats, Century Tuna in Natural Oil, Sevilla’s Pickled Relish, Del Monte Fruit Salad and boxes of Cloud 9 Overload (Peanut Butter Flavor) cannot make us last a week, or keep us healthy and safe.

“Keep safe! Stay safe!” Friends kindly generously tell us. Yeah, we will. We should. But with these kinds of food, we just couldn’t.

If not for the manguguma (farmer) and the manug isda (fisher), most of us would find it very, very difficult to put food on the table.

Truth be told, these days, the farmers and the fisher-folk are the unknown, the unappreciated—if not the undervalued—front-liners.

If not for them, what can we ever eat? If not for the farmers and the fisher-folk, shouldn’t we wonder how we can ever survive just by staying or working from home?

Of course, any produce—leaves, flowers or fruits— from our two-month-old-or-so backyard gardens—dear “plantchicos” and “plantchicas”—are simply overrated.