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Sufficiency or subsistence

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“Farming is a profession of hope” – Brian Brett

The potential shall cross its border to sufficiency and beyond.

I have seen a few self-sufficient communities here and abroad. And, when I say sufficiency it is full control of production for consumption and benefits to producers. Japan and Korea are a couple of examples where there are local communities that, not only thrive but succeed in feeding its communities and, at the same present business viabilities out of their own produce in the midst of profit driven market. These are forms of alternative trading defined by their own trading relationship.

This is notwithstanding, Korea and Japan as the top profit and capital-based economies.


Sufficiency is food security. The mode of production however, must be emphasized, is characterized by a collective practice in nature. Not to be misconstrued, in this modern world – productions are sophisticatedly patterned by a systemic mode driven by profit. For example, car production pass through units or divisions where every part is meticulously made with specialization in the whole assembly lines. A door panel is one assembly line and the seats are is another and, so on and so forth.

By practice, food production must be characterized by will and commitment not for the purpose of profit but, to secure adequate supply of food to feed those who produce it. Contextually, the Philippines’ “bayanihan system” must not be overshadowed by the culture of profit or the pure ideology of business but must be enhanced and evolve.


The significance of self-sufficiency farming is not only the skills and the technology, but the collective character of the stakeholders – the producers. Collective efforts must be encouraged in Philippine agriculture. In Negros, this must a prominent undertaking especially in areas where it succeeds.

Sadly, there are prevailing factors that put food production for food security and food sovereignty in peril. Climate change can be considered as the major one. This puts sufficiency at risk.

Moreover, the major challenge that humanity faces is how to meet increasing global demand from agriculture without depleting the world’s limited resources. According to studies global food security do not make projections past the year 2050 period.  

In parallel, both the climate change and the increasing demand for food are expected to intensify and, perhaps worsen. Also, another major challenge is self-sufficiency farming. You produce most or, all of your food on your own land with little to no external inputs or help from outside. A self-sufficient farmer or community does little or no trading with the world outside of their farm.


Sustaining productivity for food security and beyond require a comprehensive approach and adequate support and technologies. History of agricultural production did not consider irrigation as the fundamental pre-requisite to sustainable production. Modernization requires appropriate engineering and develop rain-fed areas because of the potentials our agriculture presents.

While it is more than important that we ensure food security for our people it is imperative that we go beyond our current state, sans, the un-maximized growth and development it is capable of bringing about. We must be responsive to the demands of the times – the demand is not mere survival but, agricultural evolution where stakeholders – the main players are fully-equipped with knowledge and skills not only to feed its people but to significantly contribute to the local and national economy on greater and wider scales.


Here, the inevitability of research and development, prototyping and extensive training are tall yet doable order. It is fundamental that scaling up and expansion consider actual circumstances of agricultural sphere.

Clearly, mono-cropping is a thing of the past but diversification with bio-diversity is. There are certain breakthroughs along this line that need to evolve. True enough this addresses the perils of climate change posed against us. Organic farming practices thrive and excel. This was started a decade or so that needs re-awakening and a new mind-set that is responsive to the environmental, social and economic challenges.

Let us break the ideology of importation as the most convenient response because we are not in-capable. It smacks of our label as an agricultural country, much less an agricultural province in the case of Negros.

Going beyond we must first comply with the basics – feed our own people. Even if it would “mere subsistence” who care less? You do not advance without addressing the basics.*


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September 2023

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