Low pay discourages struggling farmers to plant crops, says social enterprise

May 27, 2022 - 5:18 PM
A photo of Cagayan farmers (Rural Rising Philippines/Facebook)

A social enterprise bared that some farmers lacked the motivation to plant crops because of the low pay.

Rural Rising Philippines (RuRi), the enterprise that previously helped struggling farmers during the COVID-19 pandemic, bared on Facebook this new situation on the countryside.

“Did you notice that this year RuRi is not doing tomato rescue buys? Unlike last year everything on the internet was about mountains of rotting unsold tomatoes. Do a Google [search] like we did and you will know this to be true,” the organization said.

“This year, konti sa mga farmer na kilala namin ang nagtanim. Hindi lang kamatis, palay lalo na. So let me tell you this, if our farmers lose the motivation to plant, we are in for big trouble,” they added.

RuRi then shared a sad comment they overheard from a farmer at the La Trinidad Trading Post.

The farmer compared the meager pay they receive to that of garbage personnel.

“WALANG TANIM, WALANG LUGI. Here at the La Trinidad Trading Post, we overheard a farmer say ‘Mas kumikita ang namumulot ng basura kaysa sa amin. Wala silang puhanan, wala silang lugi.’ We realized that this is not an exaggeration, this is very true. Dati ang ‘standard’ ng kahirapan ay ang maging basurero. What does it mean when our farmers start envying them?

Another farmer, on the other hand, decided on giving up farming altogether, telling RuRi: “Hindi na ako magtatanim. Babakuran ko na lang ang lupa ko.”

“This is also very true, in fact it is becoming a common practice. ‘Iwas pusoy’ ang tawag dito. Why bother nga naman?” RuRi said.

If more farmers give up their trade, the organization warned of a looming food crisis wherein the country will be forced to import crop supplies.

“Already alarm bells are ringing tungkol sa looming food crisis. Pag walang supply, mag-iimport na tayo. That is a road from which there is no turning back,” RuRi said.

The enterprise also attached a screenshot of their product display of tomatoes via their online platform.

Suggestions from Pinoys

The post had since garnered 2,300 reactions, 283 comments and 1,100 shares. Of the reactions, most of them (1,800) were crying emojis.

Some Filipinos suggested building post-harvest and processing facilities to prevent the spoilage of crops.

“Kailangan po talaga ng post harvest at processing facility ng farmers para ma extend ang shelf life at makagawa ng value added products. Dapat isali ang mga business model na yan sa help sa farmers (education, training and capacitation). If it’s a one-legged business model (fresh produce sales), walang mangyayari sa farmers natin. Alam din naman po ng DA yan,” one Facebook user said.

“Post production facilities are badly needed for support sa mga farmers natin, kaso as usual panay drawings lang kasi mas gusto ng mga taga gobyerno mag import kasi malaki ang kita nila jan, alams nah!” another user commented.

Others also proposed teaching the farmers to create alternative food products from unsold crops for additional profit.

“We should help farmers not only sell or buy their products. Siguro we should help them by teaching them how to make good products from it. Like sun dried tomato and tomato sauce….In a way they can profit more,” one Facebook user said.

A year before

In a post in March 2021, RuRi shared stories about several farmers in Cagayan who were unable to sell their harvests due to the lockdowns brought by the pandemic.

The organization then launched its online platform on Rural Rising PH to help farmers sell their excess crops before they rot and in turn, help customers purchase fresh supplies in bulk.

READ: Local farmers struggle with unsold excess crops amid pandemic. Here’s how to help. 

As of writing, only group purchases or “all-you-can” packages are being offered on the website.