The littlest things in life can really trigger the most passionate desires of our soul.
I just had an exam(again) a while ago on my subject FS 128 (post-harvest and food processing). The bonus question was quite intriguing. It asked us of the specific educative goal that we think are actively promoted in class.
Just a brief history(so that you’d understand better the context of this post) first. I study in UP Diliman, under the program of Food Technology, which is in the College of Home Economics. In our college we have educative goals, 7 of them, which are supposedly our core values and guiding principles in which our learnings are founded upon. This educative goals are:
- Love of God
- Love of Country
- Belief of the Integral Role of the Family
- Ethical Behavior
- Management Mindedness
- Pursuit of Excellence
- Social Responsibility
(source) Please do check on the source and read more about it!
Moving on, FS 128 dwells on practical applications and implications of technology on food products and commodities. An example would be on the post-harvest loss experienced by our local farmers. Would you believe that tons of produce are lost because of mishandling and poor technology? Let me show you some data for the Phillippine scenario:
- Vegetables: 42%
- Fruits: 28%
- Grains: 15%
- Bananas: 25-35%
- Mango: 25-40%
What does it mean? It means that for every 1000kg of harvest, for example in mangoes, 400kg could be lost because of mishandling, poor technology, diseases, and pests! Can you imagine how much loss that means for our farmers? In a year where they toil endlessly, their once in a year harvest is diminished by almost 40% (for mangoes)!
Why so much loss? Let me explain further using mangoes as an example(hehe mango is my favorite fruit nowadays). There are many stages on which losses could be attributed to. One very common scenario would be on the transport of goods from the farm to the markets. Do you notice how produce like mangoes are transported? They are usually placed in (paper) lined baskets that are stacked on top of another. Here’s a picture:
What could be the problem here? Well, mangoes are easily bruised! When they are bruised, they are more susceptible to microbial deterioration! They also transfer pest infestations and diseases easily. So if you stack them one on top of another and transport them, for example from Guimaras to Divisoria, it would have to suffer so much! So imagine the situation of the farmers: They harvested 500kg of mangoes but when it’s about to be sold, about forty percent of the produce are rejected by the consumers since it’s moldy, deformed, bruised, or infested! Ouch!
It pains me so much that our Filipino brothers and sisters toil so much under the heat of our humid environment, only to be greeted by such woes. They work while they are hungry, in the middle of the unbearable heat!They eat less than what they harvest because they’d rather sell it to gain a few pesos for other needs that they have to attend to. But rather than helping them, the common scenario is that the powerful exploit them further and bring them down to worse poverty (teary eyed). If only those who are knowledgeable would train the farmers how to practically employ academically sound principles for their betterment, then what a beautiful scenario it would be!
But who would risk studying 5(or more) years of intense chemistry and laboratory work, so that they can go to the farms in remote places, live there, teach the farmers, and earn so little compared to big food-industry salaries? Who would be brave enough to choose the road less traveled and less talked about?
Well, I believe this is a possible answer:
“Dedication to serve the Filipino people, with preference for promoting the welfare of disadvantaged groups and the interests of the greater majority of the population. It begins with a recognition of a community beyond one’s self, kin and profession. It is expressed in advocacy and manifested by participating competently in the present society while working to improve it.” -Social Responsibility, as defined in the Educative Goals of the College of Home Economics
Our college aims to produce students who are socially responsible, who think beyond the self, and is selflessly devoted in the service of the Filipino people. I have to admit, I never really cared about the Philippines so much before. I would sing our national anthem, of our freedom, wear nationalistic colors and clothes, but I never had that passion to digest its meaning or study it further. But I thank God that my college helped me realize the importance of acknowledging one’s self as a part of the society, connected and not independent, bearing in mind that with great knowledge comes great responsibility. I honestly find myself tearing up just thinking about our fellow brothers and sisters who are in dire need of help. I find myself having this fire and passion to serve and help them with the knowledge I have.
So, in response to the bonus question I had to answer a while ago, it took me one full page just to answer it (haha it was longer than some of my essay answers). But atleast I was honest, and I expressed myself in a matter that best reflects my current sentiments.
I shared this all because I want to inform and educate everyone how important it is to be socially responsible, to think beyond one’s self, to START helping our fellow filipinos, and (on the slightly lighter side) to value the food that comes to your table. Please always finish your plate! I know the popular saying would be, “Maraming nagugutom sa (insert impoverished place here)!” and they would say, “Eh bakit, wala naman tayo dun ah!” Yes, true. You may not be experiencing a shortage of food, but what you just wasted could have been distributed somewhere else where it could have been more appreciated. Always think that your demand for food is always in competition with someone else.
I hope I left you with something to ponder about. Goodnight! :)