Farming in the Philippines

According to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), The Philippines has a total land area of about 30 million hectares and approximately 9.67 million hectares of which are classified as agricultural. The agricultural land area represents 32.22% of the total land area of the country. This explains why the data from the May 2014 Quick Stat show that in January 2014, in terms of employment, the agriculture sector takes up 10.93 million persons out of the total 36.42 million workforce which accounts to 30% of the total employment. The figures clearly show that basically, Philippines is an agricultural country.

Intriguingly, however, if we compare figures, there was a huge drop in farming related employment. In October 2013, or just three (3) months earlier, PSA recorded 45.2% farmers. The number of persons involved in agriculture is constantly decreasing every year. Primarily, this is because the new generations of job seekers do not consider farming as a profitable employment. The Bureau of Agricultural Statistics (now PSA) conducted a study a few years ago and their findings show that an average farmer earns only about Php 20,000 per year. That is just less than Php 2,000 per month which is way below the poverty line. This explains why farming has become one of the least liked job in the country today. In fact, as early as September 8, 2011, Kristine L. Alave, through the Philippine Daily Inquirer, stated that the "Philippines is running out of farmers".

The Philippines is no longer an agricultural country. It has shifted from an agricultural economy to one that is based on manufacturing and services to achieve the most sought after "Newly Industrialized Country Status". The leaders chose not to rely on agriculture because while the sector take up 30% of the total work force it contributes to just 14% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). On the other hand, the industrial sector which employs only 15.9% of the total human resources of the country put in 30% of the GDP. Most of the working populace or about 54.1% joined the service sector which throws in an aggregate of 56% of the GDP. This figures from the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB) typify that the country has indeed changed.

As less and less people wants to be involved in farming, we end up asking, what will happen if nobody wants to till the soil anymore? Where will we get our food by then?

The Movement

Farming runs in the blood of most Filipino. We either grew up in the province and witnessed this profession personally or we ourselves were once involved in farming. Maybe our parents are farmers, or some of our relatives are. Nevertheless, farming is perhaps the most familiar and ironically enough, the most avoided profession in the Philippines. The cynical stereotypes coupled with the wrong beliefs that it's not profitable may have caused some of these negativities about farming.

Nonetheless, our familiarity with farming cannot be denied especially at the launched of Farmville. The game became an instant hit for the Filipinos. Suddenly, everyone with computers and internet access can play the game. The public became so addicted to it to the point that even administrators and employers had to do something to prevent their employees from playing the game during office hours. Imagine the fascination that the Filipinos have for farming through a mere virtual game!

If we dislike actual farming so much, how come we became hooked with such a simple game? We believe that this is because at the heart of each of us, farming still remains special to us.

A group of young individuals saw this odd situation and decided to make a change. After some research, they concluded that (1) Filipinos are fun loving, (2) Filipinos are entrepreneurial in nature, and (3) Filipinos are still farmers by heart.

The initial goal of the group was just to develop a game that will fascinate the Filipinos -- a game that will remain close to the hearts of everyone. However, to make a lasting change, something more had to be done. This is when they decided to make a game console that will bridge the gap between virtual farming and real-life farming. They wanted to help abolish the negative stereotypes attached to farming. They want to give people a reason to take pride in farming again. FarmOn was birthed after.

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