Plan for a Sustainable Philippines

What is the simplest, most sure way to revitalize all aspects of life in the Philippines?  As we all know, there is a health crisis in this nation.  And medical costs have weakened our economy.  This vision is remarkably simple, but if followed, may enable the Philippines to whip the health crisis and emerge as a world economic role model and leader.

This plan encompasses many aspects of raising food, fiber and fuel products.  We must care take of our soils, water and air while monitoring impacts of methods of production on agricultural workers and consumers.  Ideally, the Philippines can be seen as a source of wisdom with the message that we as a global community should be able to produce high quality, abundant agricultural products which enable humans and animals to thrive from generation to generation without damaging our environment.

For example, diabetes may become a thing of the past.  Field observations and pilot data suggest that human blood glucose responses differ between fruits of the same cultivar grown under these different methods.  It is reported that diabetics can eat high quality, biologically-produced fruit without a large glycemic fluctuation, yet the same cultivar conventionally grown causes a spike in blood glucose.  What makes these observations even more intriguing is that the biologically-produced fruits typically have a higher percentage of sugars than the conventional counterparts.  In addition, the biologically-produced fruits are reported to taste better and have a much longer shelf life.

We propose a win-win-win-win-win-win solution!  All of the following facets of society will benefit mightily from this plan: 

  • Agriculture
  • Animal Life
  • Human Consumers
  • Health Care
  • Trade
  • Environment

 

STEP 1:  SOIL HEALTH - MICROBES AND EARTHWORMS

It all starts with the things that God has given us.  Unfortunately, like most other countries, we have a soil crisis in the Philippines.  Landslides and mudslides are not merely the result of freakish weather conditions.  Our soil needs to be revitalized with a healthy combination of microbes and earthworms.

The roadmap to sustainability starts with soil health, which implies balanced, full-spectrum minerals, active microbial and earthworm populations, and high organic matter content.  Some attributes of healthy soil are:

  • Healthy soil supports healthy plant growth.  An ideal microbial population helps make nutrients available to the plants.
  • Microbes “glue” soil particles together, which decreases erosion and toxic run-off, decreases needed inputs, decreases costs, and saves our top soil.  The producers will have good land to pass on to their heirs.
  • Selected microbes trap nitrogen from air which decreases nitrogen inputs, decreases costs, and decreases pollution.
  • Microbial activity keeps the soil temperature more constant (warmer in winter, cooler in summer) which equates to longer growing seasons.  More stable ground temperatures may also influence the stability of the air temperature over the land. This may equate to less extreme weather patterns, which would bring better farming and living conditions.  Currently, due to extreme weather patterns, some producers are feeling forced to expend large sums of money for greenhouses to protect their crops.
  • Selected microbes clean up toxic conditions, such as “chemically-burned” fields.
  • Microbes and earthworms recycle nutrients in the soil and improve soil tilth.
  • Beneficial microbes and soil organic matter help modulate soil moisture content allowing crops to better withstand fluctuations in moisture.

 

STEP 2:  PLANT HEALTH - QUALITY PRODUCE AND ANIMAL FEED

Through superior farming practices and wise choices of cultivars, some producers have been able to produce abundant, award-winning crops without harmful chemicals.  These truly healthy crops exhibit ideal tissue pH levels, soluble solids concentrations, and mineral balances, along with low nitrates, ammonia, free amino acids and reducing sugars.  Fortunately, technology has provided producers with affordable, easy-to-use tools and tests for monitoring soil and plant health. 

Plans for the future include:

  • expansion of on-farm and university-associated research
  • labeling program for Nutrient-RichTM foods that have met high standards of quality including nutrient content, sensory perception parameters, shelf-life values and freedom from toxic contaminants
  • establishment of a model farm for educational purposes
  • commercial production of Nutrient-RichTM foods
  • marketing and distribution of these high quality foods
  • involvement with industry and governmental leaders in promoting nutrient-dense sustainable agriculture

Now let’s take this produce (which tastes so good that children select it over junk food) and feed it to humans.  What are the possibilities?  We start with full-spectrum mineral nutrition.  Not just the minerals you read about on One-A-Day® and Centrum® bottles, but also many trace elements such as vanadium and strontium - elements often overlooked, but important for optimal health.  Vitamin and antioxidant content is also higher in Nutrient-RichTM  foods.  There are many components to food, thousands of phytonutrients, many of which act as antioxidants or perform other functions in the body such as assisting with cellular communication.  The production of healthful and flavorful food compounds is maximized by the careful process of growing Nutrient-RichTM foods. 

When superior plant health is achieved, then:

  • Insects are less attracted to the plants, so fewer pesticides are needed.  This equates to less expense, decreased crop losses, decreased environmental pollution (air, water, soil), and fewer health risks for agricultural workers.  Pesticide-free produce may also bring premium prices.
  • Plants are more disease and pest resistant, so fewer sprays will be needed.  Again, less expense, decreased crop losses, decreased pollution, and fewer health risks, along with possible premiums.
  • Plants may realize their genetic potential with increased yields (increased profits) and higher quality produce (which brings premiums for the producers, sometimes huge premiums).

Quality produce has:

  • High antioxidant and nutrient density which makes it healthful and satisfying.
  • An exceptionally long shelf life which decreases losses for producers, packers, shippers, and consumers.
  • Superior taste and sensory appeal, which increases consumer demand and, again, brings premium prices.
  • A proud producer who feels good about what he does for the world as he leans against his well-padded wallet.  ;-)

High quality feedstuffs for animals equate to:

  • Healthier, happier animals resulting in decreased need for medication and decreased losses.
  • Increased production and profits.
  • Healthier animal food products for consumers.

Consumer benefits:

  • Improved food flavor and satisfaction.
  • Better-tasting produce may increase consumption of fruits and vegetables, which may in turn equate to better health.
  • Decreased levels of harmful agricultural chemicals means decreased toxins in food and the environment.
  • Longer shelf life leading to decreased losses after purchasing foods.
  • Full-spectrum nutrition equates to better health. This decreases healthcare costs while increasing human productivity and quality of life.

 

STEP 3:  EXPORT OUR SUCCESS TO THE NATIONS

With its vast improvements in health, environment and economics, the Philippines will become more and more well known worldwide for its healthy, earth-friendly, successful people.   This will facilitate trade and attract students and tourists.

Philippine produce and livestock will be sought after for its clear benefits.  Fortunately, the natural increase in production through implementing these wise measures will enable us to become a top exporter to the world, virtually solving our economic woes. 

Philippine methods will be sought by other nations.  Philippine institutes of higher learning will attract thousands of foreign students, especially in the fields of agriculture and nutrition.  The Philippines will once again become a top tourist destination as travel publications begin to recommend our beautiful nation as a “must see”.


CONCLUSION

Growing better quality, Nutrient-RichTM foods can make differences in the lives of producers, marketers, and consumers, as well as the environment.  Greater quality is achievable through sustainable production methods, coupled with soil and plant tissue testing for determining nutrient inputs.  The aim is to give the plants everything they need to achieve their genetic potential and provide highly nourishing, nutrient-dense foods for humans and animals. 

In addition to quality improvements, producers can realize greater crop production yields with soil balancing programs.  Producers may also experience less pest and disease pressure without the use of expensive toxic “rescue” chemicals.  Why is that?  Healthier plants are more resistant to pests and diseases.  Greater crop yields and fewer losses will, of course, equate to greater income.  Furthermore, better tasting produce sells for premium prices.

Produce marketers can easily sell this great tasting, high brix produce, which has a long shelf life.  Brix refers to the amount of naturally-occurring sugars in the plants.  It has been observed that increased plant brix may be related to plant health, produce flavor and shelf life.  The long shelf life equates to fewer storage losses and therefore higher profits.

Consumers delight in produce of unsurpassed quality in flavor, full-spectrum nutrition, and extended keeping qualities, while comforted by the fact that no harmful chemicals were used in production.  Humans and animals need a broader range of nutrients than do plants for optimal health.  Therefore, adding a few elements, like the typical N-P-K, may improve apparent plant health while falling short of producing well-rounded nutrition for consumers.  Broad-spectrum plant nutrition may also help the plant to produce a wider range of flavor compounds which may result in award-winning produce.

Finally, with conscientious organic production systems the environment is spared the consequences of toxic chemical production methods - water contamination, soil degradation and erosion, air pollution.  Instead, the Philippines and eventually Our World is refreshed by wholesome products and thoughtful practices.