To learn about the Philippines, one has to learn about its agriculture, a huge part of the Filipino culture.
The Filipino Studies Certificate program at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo is perhaps the only Filipino studies program in the U.S. that integrates sustainable agriculture into its curriculum. Rodney Jubilado, assistant professor of Filipino and coordinator of the certificate program, stresses that in order to learn about the Philippines, one has to learn about its agriculture, which is a huge part of the Filipino culture.
“The focus here is the Philippines, which is an agricultural country” says Jubilado, whose family in the Philippines owns a farm that grows coffee, coconut and cacao.
Jubilado is a prolific writer and researcher and has shared his articles in numerous venues such as international conferences in various countries in Asia, Australia, and America. He is well published in international journals, edited academic journals, books, and manuscripts, supervised graduate and doctoral students, and is a member of professional organizations of his field and allied disciplines.
There is presently a disconnect between the economic reality of Hawai‘i’s working farmers, educators, and the well-intentioned sustainability and food sovereignty idealism of governmental leaders, politicians, and community activists.
At most community agricultural meetings in Hawaiʻi, there are candid discussions regarding the growth and development constraints faced by the smallholder crop and livestock sectors. These discussions revolve around strong import competition from large continental-based operations, heavy dependence on imported energy and nutrient inputs for our farms, and a myriad of challenges associated with lease land, access to water and adequate infrastructure, labor constraints, lack of applied research and extension outreach, marketing, ability to comply with regulations, access to promising new cultivars, security, building equity, and sufficient financing.
A move to Organic and Organic Plus strategies in food production is how Hawai‘i food producers take back the power of the Hawai‘i brand.
By Joshua Willing, Student, AG100, Introduction to Agricultural Sciences.
Food production in Hawai‘i sits in the middle of a great paradox, at once a lush natural paradise with a perfect climate for growing things, yet isolated, leading to inflated costs for Hawaii’s producers. The future of the Hawai‘i food industry will depend on producers’ ability to navigate a way that respects these inherent costs while utilizing the many benefits of the islands. Producers must decide on a model that best suits the economy.
My argument here is that this model already exists, and by using branding–in this case the brand of Hawai‘i itself–we will mitigate many unavoidable costs while at the same time enhancing the desirability of Hawai‘i’s food products. This will rely heavily on the Hawai‘i food industry as a whole moving toward an “Organic Plus” strategy (going beyond current organic standards), the goals of which coincide nicely with the natural boons of Hawai‘i’s food production.