Every morning I travel for about an hour or more from our house going to work by a bus. I always sit beside the window so I could have a better view of the fields beside the highway. It feels good to see those green rice fields, the animals and the trees.
About 10 years ago, the areas beside the express way were verdant. If you open the window of the car you could smell the sweat scent from the rice fields. Sometimes you don’t need the aircon because the fresh air is better. But that was 10 years ago; now, the once vibrant fields are gone. There are small patches of rice fields but not like before where in the entire area is but a farm land.
Today what you see are big bulldozers, cranes and other mechanical machines, yes the once agricultural land has been transformed into a residential or commercial land and so various low-cost housing are being constructed. Realty companies some of which are owned by politicians are taking the lands.
Many subdivisions have occupied the once fertile land, and many more are being constructed. In this country we have a strict law governing land conversion, especially converting agri-land to other categories. The problem is, the people could easily navigate into the loopholes of the law, and that those charged to safeguard it, would not mind especially when the prize is high.
Agriculture is not a priority of the government, even though we have vast fertile land. Our government is dreaming and is hoping to become a fully industrialized country. Thank you, we don’t care if we don’t have food in the table, for as long as we can produce cars, computers etc. Today most of our food supply including the major staple, which is rice is imported. The greater irony is that our neighbors come to study in our International Rice Research Institute, and then they will apply it and end up selling the product to us.
China need not bomb us, or our neighbors need not build an army if they want to destroy us. They would simply refuse to sell food to us and we will starve to death.
Today, little by little the greenfields are disappearing, I wonder if there would still be a space for new generations, empty space where they could plant their trees. I feel sad having witnessed how this lonely transformation occurred; I wonder where are the farmers now? Do they miss their farm?