Reminiscing Bukidnon

  • 24 November 2015, Tuesday

Source: Business Week Mindanao
3 Nov 2015

MUSUAN is a field of greens this season. Stretching thousands of hectares of agricultural lands planted with rice, sugar canes, corn and fruit trees, the frontiers of Maramag, Bukidnon, holds a promise as a bastion of Northern Mindanao’s drive for food sufficiency. Government effort shows its hand and resources in responding to the emerging opportunities and threat facing agriculture with the establishment of the Central Mindanao State University that specialized in agricultural studies in the fields of rice research, animal husbandry and forestry. Of recent years, the College of Education and Hotel, and Restaurant Management were included in the curriculums of the government run institution as a requirement of CHED to maintain its university status.

CMU is one of the hundreds of state universities and colleges in the Philippines offering agriculture. Other private institutions of higher learning are also offering agricultural courses as our answer to humanities needs for food, fuel and feeds. However, a recent finding of the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Education (SEARCA) showed a declining figures of enrollment in agriculture and related studies. It has also established data of shrinking farmlands particularly those planted with rice due to the expansion of the urban centers in the provinces of Laguna, Cavite and Pampanga where former rice lands were converted into housing subdivisions and industrial development sites. The figures are probably one of the causes to the reduction of our rice production output against the growing demand for food as population continue to grow. In what could be an unfortunate development in the other parts of the country which is also periodically visited with strong typhoons is the opposite in Bukidnon, where agriculture continues to move in trajectory with their harvest contributes to the GNP of the province.

In my work assignments in many regions of the Philippines, I have collated data’s of progressive areas covering tourism and agriculture, which are inseparable partners for economic growth. My travel in Mindanao has been rewarded with knowledge enrichment that I continuously share to the industry and the young professionals who want to establish a career in the hospitality business. Tourism will not prosper without the component of food production, which enables the industry to stage festivals, attract foreign visitors and partake in the celebrations of life.

In Bukidnon, the sight of endless rows of Pineapple are wonders to the human eyes, just as vast plantation of Sugar Canes fires up ones imagination of the abundance of the province to agricultural produced that influenced their economy. The highly elevated province is endowed with a balance weather, which nurtures its forest to sustain their water resource that even cascades to the underground aquifer of neighbor, Misamis Oriental. Nevertheless, more than these gifts of nature are the human factor that influences the behavior of productivity, which I attribute to the good leadership under Governor Jose Ma. Zubiri, who is actively supportive of the tourism initiative and has been pushing for the growth of modern agricultural development in his province.
Recently, I hitch a ride to the province from Davao City during their colorful “Kaamulan Festival” to renew acquaintance with old friends and join their celebration. Bukidnon, which was my playground when I was young at 40’s have grown fast just as I am now approaching my 60’s. Over the last twenty years, I dream of owning a land where I can plant fruit trees and grow my chicken in the backyard. The view of the orchard with birds chirping on treetops is probably enjoyable retirees’ rewards for spent years of corporate life. After all, Bukidnon is one of such good place to retire.