With ten years of study and experimentation. A Filipino farmer scientist was able to grow strawberries, seedless grapes and mandarin oranges even in the warm province of Camarines Sur. It has great potential to expand his business and help the industry of agriculture in the country. But government support is not enough for farmers like him.
This isn't in Baguio, furthermore, not in abroad. So, nobody thought that the strawberry which only grows commonly in cold areas. Can now cultivate and bear fruit in fiery province of Camarines Sur. An ultimate result of the ten years study and effort made by Leonardo Libreja.
A farmer who is behind cross-pollinated strawberry that is totally adapted for heat resistance. Being awarded as an outstanding farmer of the Department of Agriculture (DA) in 2003. He patiently tending the buyers of his seedlings about technologies he learned in his journey in Hawaii. Adaptation of plants that only in cold places, can live now in hot areas of Bicol are gradually developed in his farm.
Goes Blindly on Poverty-stricken Farmers
Nearly six months from the start building his business. It has a clear capacity to grow, but too sluggish government support to every farmer as he is. Agriculture is one of the most important industry in the Philippines. But it seems continually being neglected by government.
- Sadly, families of farmers and fishermen are listed as one of the poorest sector based on 'Poverty Incidence Report'.
- Since 1960 up to now, agricultural Gross Domestic Product (GDP—the total income of the country from the services and products) contribution didn't even reach to 20%.
- Department of Agriculture admitted, government experts are insufficient. These experts should have been researching for the agricultural development in the country.
- Department of Agriculture personnel are concentrated only on theories and they do not actually made it for real.
- The shortfall in agricultural research are rooted in scanty attention given it by the government.
- Not even one percent (0.8%) of government funds allotted for research project.
- Lack of training capacity, investment should be enhance on this area. Providing free training for farmers is last on Department of Agriculture's lists.
Things also complained by other farmer scientists. Sometimes government did some comprehensive lectures, but virtually it has no good results at all. Supposedly, agriculture is similar as plant grown from a seed. It must be watered, fertilized, and keep healthy until it'll be able to produce and profitable for farmers and communities.