Top 10 Most Traded Commodities in the World in 2013

1. Crude oil
2. Coffee
3. Cotton
4. Wheat
5. Corn
6. Sugar
7. Silver
8. Copper
9. Gold
10. Natural Gas

The Philippines has eight out of these ten. Current national production is a bit of everything of these eight (well, except the minerals). What needs to be done is to make production really MASS-ive. Take coffee, which is the second most traded. The bean is native to the Cordilleras but production is teeny small. In other words, given demand, there’s lots of potential in there. (Incidentally, if you ask me for how to make all the rebels “go down the mountains”, the way is to get them to produce and trade coffee to others and the world. In the process, they’ll be a happier bunch and realize my god why was I ever a rebel? Just saying.)

We here at home should sow the seeds so to speak in the interim when many of our kin are abroad working their asses off in order to inject cash back here expecting there’d be something to harvest when they return (as opposed to squandering hard-earned money – for want of a better word – in the malls. I’m not entirely against malls but the way everyone’s going at it here, it’s scary. Scarier that the mindset of local college students as a result is to spend their allowances for vintage LV bags and top of the line mobile phones casually ignoring the fact that this hard earned money by their tenant farmer-parents is so they could have a good future; they then sell their bodies to earn back the squandered amount. Good for developed nations and cities – think Hong Kong – to have their streets lined with luxury labels but we’re not a developed country yet and to spend money as if every local’s Croesus is bad economics. We’ll get there happily and without guilt soon enough if we work on the basics now (internet speed for one). We need to learn to walk before we can run. In this, I don’t think economics theory has changed a bit.).

So where were we? Ah yes – industrialization. It was 20 something years ago in economics class when this national vision and mantra was drilled into us students. Twenty plus years after, now, Vietnam and Cambodia non-English speaking neighbors have appeared from oblivion and gaining substantially whereas here talk is about reviving agriculture which we’ve neglected. Huh? Quite the Rip Van Winkle we are. I can’t believe Philippines is doing extra time in make-up classes.

We need to make our minds up. Starting with Local Government Units.

In one of my research stints, the task of going through the current Regional Development Plans and Physical Framework Plans presented itself. The regions have visualized their futures eloquently. And I didn’t read anything on malls being the linchpin of regional development. But sadly the visions and strategies have mostly remained on paper. Regions need to do. I’m sure citizens won’t question the billions of tax money (pork barrel) given to Congress when these are utilized to realize these plans.

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