A Filipino farmer, a grain of rice, a spoon, and a fork.

As LaLie Lopez Tropa, a student at Aklan State University, painstakingly carves these on a leaf, she longs to bring the message that every grain of rice Pinoys enjoy on their tables is a fruit of every drop of sweat of our farmers.

LaLie knows the hardship because her parents are rice farmers.

“They produce our staple food. They do difficult tasks to produce the rice that most Filipinos cannot live without,” the 20-year-old college student said.

This thought inspired her to create a leaf art of the National Rice Awareness Month (NRAM) logo.

“As we celebrate the National Rice Awareness Month, I want to show my appreciation to every Filipino farmer like my hardworking farmer-parents,” she said.

The artwork, shared on Be Riceponsible Facebook page, reached more than 40,000 netizens and was appreciated.

“We should celebrate the talent of this student. Not everyone is skilled to do this kind of artwork,” a netizen commented.

 “Good to see that this generation is aware of the importance of farmers,” another netizen said.

Lopez shared that this is also one of her ways to remind everyone about the role of rice farmers in Filipinos’ lives, and to encourage the public to be responsible rice consumers.

Choosing agriculture

“Since I was a kid, I and my sisters would help our parents on the farm. We were able to continue our studies by helping our parents sell our farm produce,” the youngest of four siblings said.

Seeing the advantages of agriculture, she decided to take up a course in this field in college.

“I had a strong desire to become an engineer but I chose agriculture because there are many job opportunities that this sector could offer. Agriculture is also close to my heart because my family makes a living through farming,” she explained.

LaLie witnessed how her siblings finished their studies because of the hard work of her parents. Her three older sisters are all college graduates with degrees in architecture, engineering, and agriculture.

“I also want to study hard and share with my parents the knowledge I gained in the university,” she explained.

Youth for the farmers

LaLie shared that she believes even the youth can also support the Filipino farmers in different ways.

“The youth can use their talents to help raise awareness on the important role of our rice farmers and how we can support them. But other than that, simply patronizing the produce of our farmers is already a huge support for them,” she said.

For LaLie, giving value to each grain of rice would make farmers feel appreciated. She believes this is not so difficult compared to the farmers’ hard work and sacrifices to produce the rice that this country needs.

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Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) is a government corporate entity attached to the Department of Agriculture created through Executive Order 1061 on 5 November 1985 (as amended) to help develop high-yielding and cost-reducing technologies so farmers can produce enough rice for all Filipinos.

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Philippine Rice Research Institute