Blossoms of rice, they bloom tranquilly in midsummer.
Around the 10th of August, the rice starts blooming in Shonai. As they bloom and become visible, we get a glimpse of the faint yellow color before it fades above the paddy fields in the hot summer. These blossoms neither have fascinating petals nor are they aromatic, they only possess a sense of tranquility.
The blossoms are different from flowers that are pollinated with the help of the wind or insects. Actually, rice blossoms are pollinated before the husk opens, therefore a coquettish flower is useless. Rice blossoms remind farmers that the rice is starting to ripen. It ends within an hour or two and the husk closes quietly.
I’ve heard that when the rice plants are in bloom, man does not have any involvement in this activity. These are left on its own, undisturbed and the only thing the farmer does is look from a ridge that surrounds the field.
Sometime ago, I realized that the plant is the only living thing that can produce food fundamentally. Only plants photosynthesize, they make carbohydrates from water and carbon dioxide; carbohydrate is an essential food. It seems to produce something out of nothing. Plants produce food for every creature.
Now as I see the field activity, sowing the rice seed, planting the rice seedlings and the rice flowers blooming, these stages of life make me reflect on this.
To determine what food is as a commodity / determine the characteristics
Human beings need food; we cannot survive without it. Moreover, we need it daily but the volume we consume is limited. I suppose this is the characteristic of food as a commodity. When we consider agriculture as a business, this is the most important point to consider. Based on this, food is slightly different from clothing, housing, medical services, education and travel, don’t you agree?
In business, there is a market and there is tension between sellers and buyers. Sometimes a buyer misses out on getting a commodity and this can’t be helped. People who pay more money get the goods instead of those who pay less. Greed will thrive and people will be driven by this. In the business world, players are allowed to monopolize and to withdraw. Natural selection is a positive way towards developing society.
However, I think that the abovementioned is not suitable when we deal with food. It is a nightmare when food is monopolized or withdrawn from production in some cases. Since we don’t have an alternative way of producing food except through agriculture and we need food for our daily sustenance, we should seriously consider the importance of agriculture and treat it differently from other industries.
Because food is an essential part of life, we have to ensure agriculture continues and is sustainable. Efficiency shortens the life of agriculture because it hastens and maximizes the exhaustion of the soil. It advances the time of death of producing food and this is the point we should seriously think about.
Though we need food, most of us have left producing food to an unknown individual (not a public official). This is different from air and water, only food production is taking this route. If food is such a necessity for everyone in sustaining their life, we need to be involved in supporting and helping agriculture, understanding the position of growers.
We should evolve from being greedy consumers to supporters of growers. This is not an easy task but with knowledge and experience in all aspects of life, economics, science and wisdom, we must create a new way of life that ensures a life long supply of food.
Agriculture as a lifeline
There is a saying that farmers don’t part with their land. Some say this is because farmers hope the price of land increases others think otherwise. But the reality is that unconsciously, farmers recognize the value of keeping their land and cultivating it, so that they can continue producing food. If farmers give up agriculture and become consumers instead of crop producers, they will experience the same kind of fear that everyone experiences, just like when people learn how to swim. The fear of letting go of the poolside where it is safe and trying desperately to swim in the deepest part of the pool where your feet cannot touch the bottom of the pool. I imagine this could be the reason why they keep their land.
In addition to that, people still have the custom of exchanging goods and services within the community so farmers can get various goods and services in exchange for crops. In such a community, we often see the crops like money.
As compared to other kinds of crops, rice can be traded and can support more people than any other crop in the same area. So rice is more like currency rather than money.
Now a farmer will only leave his land when he becomes too old to work on it.
By the way, we look at a farmer and admire his body, how tough and strong he is. He is not bothered about being dirty from the mud or having insect bites. He roughly washes off the mud with a water hose by the warehouse or the paddy field and he starts his work quietly. Nothing seems to bother him and I am ashamed that I don’t have the same resilience. As long as he keeps up with this, he can survive.
Nowadays, there are many people who have worries and anxieties. In such a world, I imagine that people like him would survive till the end. When the world will be free from worry and anxiety, farmers will eventually be released from the land.