crisonthesidelines.wordpress.com may 14, 2009
Rice was harvested early April yet in Cambinocot, Cebu , and on the second time of our visit (May, 2009), we still can’t bring rice because there were occasional rains. They find it hard to dry palay. So what we did is we took palay (rice still on husks) and brought home.
My husband and I decided that since we have the ability to dry them we brought 14 sacks of palay (about 560 kilos) and will dry them on our own. We started with 3 sacks drying them on our terrace. We enlisted the help of my older son, Joel, to turn the palay every 20 minutes, with a little help from mama and papa also. drying took two days.
We’re so happy with the outcome because we were able to dry the palay well. So we endeavored to dry another set. But this time, we are not so lucky. On the second day, when the palay is almost 100% dry, it rained. It so happened that only Joel is attending to it that’s why some parts of the drying tap got wet.
This is when my husband decided to just bring the palay to Sibonga so that it can be dried at a shorter time because there’s a bigger space there. He said we will just pay someone to attend to it. It will also be easier to mill the rice since there’s a mill in Lamacan, Sibonga and there’s also a mill in Carcar. So, we brought all the palay to Sibonga for drying and milling.
For us who are used to just buy the rice that we cook and eat, we have no idea how hard it is for farmers to produce food for us. When we buy from them all we want is to get the lowest price even if it means their loss. If you dry palay in a dryer, it will take four hours and you have to spend for fuel. If you dry the palay manually (under the sun), you have to turn it every twenty minutes to take advantage of the heat of the sun. It’s not easy. It’s hot and it’s itchy and we take for granted all these effort. all we want is to get the best price. to the detriment of poor farmers.
But do you know that if they sell all their products it doesn’t mean they earned? Indeed most farmers do not really include in the cost of production the man hours they spent to produce their products. This is wrong. Labor is part of production costs and oftentimes, farmers do not take this into consideration, especially those farmers who personally till their lands and don’t have extra farmhands.
And for those farmers whose products are perishable like vegetables, sometimes they have no choice but to sell at a loss just because buyers want a lower price. Farmers can’t bring their products back home since it would entail more expenses. So it’s better to sell at a loss than keep their products. I know this personally because I sell bananas. There was a time also that me and my husband sold camote in Carbon Market.
This is the reason why farmers are poor. To send their children to school, they have to continuously sell their animals, or mortgage their land or products just to have money for their personal needs.
I think the government, be it local or national, should have a program to support farmers just like in other countries. There are many ways but I hope they will include free education for farmers’ children. On all levels. Just in our public school system and state colleges and universities. No strings attached. No need for very high grades, just passing grade. This is to ensure that even if our farmers are poor now, their children will not have the same fate as their parents.