For a Healthier You Eat More Veggies!
Crisis creates opportunities. Eating more vegetables is the way to go!
Fifty years ago, our cooperative, the National Onion Growers Cooperative Marketing Association(NOGROCOMA), launched a campaign for consumers to eat more vegetables. To create a better market for their onions, they advocated for Filipinos to eat more vegetables in order to be healthier. Remember this was in the 1950s.
I told Secretary Arthur Yap during the food Summit that Filipinos must eat more vegetables. Why? Because we are so Westernized in our eating habits. Our main fare, especially the young ones, consists of hamburger, pizza and doughnuts. For the past 50 years or so, TV advertisements capitalized on the yummy, juicy and delicious cheeseburger. No wonder most of us got hooked on Western foods.
Did you notice that mainly because of our diet – a lot of Filipinos are diabetic, obese and cancer-prone. Even young people get cancer. Dialysis clinics are all around. When was the last time you really thought about the state of your health?
Many, many years ago, according to the bible, the life span of humans is between 100 and 500 years. Because most of our forebears eat vegetables – especially indigenous ones.
With the rice crisis hogging the headlines, what do we do? Conservation measures. Eat less rice. When you are diabetic, you are only allowed to take limited grams of rice. This means rice adds to sugar that makes us sicker if we have diabetes. Crisis is the mother of invention and creativity.
The high value commercial crops program of the government needs more support. It needs honest-to-goodness programs that will insure health of our people. The critical interventions should be in place and required with the support of the NGOs. At the same time, there should be awareness and greater need for programs that will insure food security.
As I listened to PGMA with her financial package to push her “FIELDS” project, I am happy about the extension and driers underscore. FIELDS is an acronym which stands for f-fertilizer, i-infrastructure and irrigation, e- extension,l-loans, d-driers and s-for seeds. As my guru, Mr. Vicente Lim, Jr. says: “everything starts with good seeds.” Seeds must include not only rice and corn seeds but also fruits and vegetable seeds.
As I was recuperating from my bout with high blood pressure, I felt invigorated and stronger after attending the food summit. I am happy to note that facts show that we must not over react to the rice crisis situation. Actually, the critical interventions done in the past as I discussed with Frisco Malabanan and Leo Sebastian of Philrice – the hybrid rice program, the 200 cavans/hectare palay harvest record, the use of BT corn among other interventions are now bearing fruit. Population growth is going down. These critical interventions done by the department will mitigate the crisis.
My answer is eat more vegetables for a better life!
NMU – the passion and speed that the department is undertaking efforts to lower cost on the table must be encouraged. But there is a need to analyze and see how it achieves its goal. As the NMU goes around the barangay food terminals, and the “bagsakan” centers, we noted a whole gamut of practices that are done for speed and impact. The quality and relevance aspect must be studied. The need to closely work with the department is necessary to perfect the practices especially on the sustainability aspect. Lowering food cost on the table needs the support of all. The food lane is a masterpiece.
Urban gardening as a source of our vegetables is a good practice to be continued. Pick your vegetables fresh from your own garden. I have Former Secretary for Food Security, Angelito Sarmiento, encouraging this practice. I could not agree more. School gardens must also be continued. We have good practices that are already there.
Task Force on IVs
Did you know that the Department of Health (DOH) is calling for all hospitals to put up their IV garden? Our Task Force on IVs, headed by Carol Batallones, updated me as Chairman of the Fruits and Vegetables Committee that our project on IVs is now being adopted all over the islands. We hope that the budget for IV gardens headed by Josephine Garcia under the supervision of Bureau of Plant Director Joel Rudinas is approved. And that FRLD wants to print our IV book because of the malunggay craze. Remember mask talk ph – malunggay, alugbati, saluyot, katuray, talinum, ampalaya, lagundi, kulitis and pako and himbabao! We in the NAFC Fruits and Vegetable committee are all excited as we watch our project take off.
The NAFC, which is a private sector led group, is leading the way. Chaired by Undersecretary Bernie Fondevilla, it shows that the department and United Nations’ desire to encourage more private sector partnership with government is working. To our indefatigable Secretary Arthur Yap and Assistant Secretary Salvador Salacup who spearheaded the Food Summit, our hats off to you! Ditto to Director Bong Ramos of AMAS and Ric Cachuela of Post Harvest and the technical working groups.
Climate change is a given. Crisis creates opportunities. Eating more vegetables is the way to go! After 54 years, our cooperative’s call to eat more vegetables becomes more relevant than ever. My brother Vic said instead of saying 1/2 cup of rice we can actually say 50 grams of rice. We have small and big cups. We only have one standard for grams. What a practical idea coming from an onion farmer of NOGROCOMA.
Again, constant reminder: eat more veggies for a healthier you!