Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Whatever happened to the NFA Farmers' Museum, once the pride of the Filipino farmer?

Dr Abe V Rotor
Living with Nature - School on Blog
Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid (People's School-on-Air) with Ms Melly C Tenorio

738 DZRB AM Band, 8 to 9 evening class, Monday to Friday [www.pbs.gov.ph]
Brown rice or pinawa dehusker at the former Farmers' Museum 
of the National Food Authority in Cabanatuan City.  

Operated by hand this native rice mill made of wood and bamboo separates the husk from the grain, leaving the grain intact with its bran.  The bran contains mineral, vitamins, oil, and digestible fiber which conventional rice mills removed during polishing. Polishing removes the bran leaving the grain white and polished. In the process, much of the grains is broken, particularly the defective and immature ones chalky and powdery.  It is the bran that gives the nutritious tiki-tiki which is extracted in the final boiling stage in cooking rice. Tiki-tiki was developed by a Filipino scientist, Dr. Manuel Zamora, a cheap and practical source of infant food supplement which saved thousands of babies during the second World War. It was later popularized as United Tiki-tiki. This photo was taken just after the inauguration of the Museum (c.1981), with Dr Romualdo M del Rosario, deputy director of the National Museum, as consultant.  With him is a member of the NFA staff in charge of the museum.  


Among the antique farming tools in the Farmers' Museum are the popular suyod of three designs. One with iron pegs (left) is used on wet paddy. It serves as harrow and leveler.  The second is made of bamboo with natural and embedded pegs used as harrow for the upland.  At the foreground is another type of harrow with multiple pegs arranged on rows. The ingenuity at the grassroots cannot be underestimated.  Farmers' technology developed with the birth of agriculture in the Fertile Crescent thousands of years ago, and its rise in many parts of the world. The commonality of inventions is more on function, rather than scientific explanation, the latter serving as basis in improvement and diversification.   

NOTE: The Farmers' Museum of the then National Grains Authority, now National Food Authority, was put up in response to the administration's thrust in food self-sufficiency.  It was during the time the country gave emphasis on developing cultural pride as a nation and people, as evidenced by the expansion of the National Museum, the putting up of the Philippine Convention Center, and the National Art Center on Mt Makiling, among others, during the administration of the late President Ferdinand E Marcos. The Farmers' Museum occupied the right wing of the Regional NFA Building in Cabanatuan City for two decades, until it closed down.  It was once a pride of the agency, the centerpiece of visitation by foreign dignitaries, convention participants, tourists, professors and students, and most especially farmers who found the museum not only as a showcase of the agricultural industry, but as a hallmark of their being the "backbone of the nation." AVR      

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