They came with some harvests of their organically-grown fruits, vegetables, root-crops and cooked organic food to celebrate what they call as the Farmers’ Festival. Even when some of them talked about being affected by the dry spell that has scorched parts of their farm produce, still they came with whatever they could muster, despite the odds.
A kind of enthusiasm was unmistakable on the countenance of Julieta Linogan, 52, who was joined by her daughter Crystal, 12, together with other fellow women farmer-members of their organization called Awid Farmers’ Womens’ Organization, who brought some fruits including seeds for sale during the festival. She related that her family belong to a tribal group called Klata in sitio Awid, Barangay Malamba, Marilog District.
Julieta said they came a long way from several kilometres just to take part in the festival and had to walk down from where their farms are located in the hinterlands of Marilog. In fact, according to Anita Pandyan, a member of the Matigsalog tribe, the president of the umbrella organization of women farmers called Kababaihang Nagtataglay ng Bihirang Lakas (KNBL), most of the members of the women’s organizations under KNBL come from different tribal groups such as Bagobo, Dyangan, Ubo-Manobo and others already mentioned.
Even as most of the KNBL women are undergoing hardships as they pursued organic farming in each of their own efforts despite the challenges, their faces still glow with pride and, surprisingly, some kind of contentment.
But what makes these women believe in something that entail more work in the farm than usual?
Sometime in 2018 during the 14th Regional Assembly of Masipag in Davao, two women farmers related some of the benefits that drew them into adopting organic farming. Leonora Sanchez who is member of San Isidro Organic Farmers related that she started to adopt organic farming in 2016 even when most of the farmers in their community continue with the traditional farming using inorganic inputs.
Likewise, Gina Juanetis, who is also another woman farmer in San Isidro, also went into organic farming for reasons that she finds it more economical and prevents her from incurring debts. Furthermore, Juanetis also valued the health benefit that organic farming brings to her family, especially the food that she feeds her children.
She said she has observed that natural food that has no pesticides and other chemicals do not bring about sickness to her family, unlike when they were eating rice and vegetables that are not chemical free.
Genuine farmers’ festival
Unfazed by the dry spell that starts to wreak havoc on their farm produce, the organic women farmers came to celebrate their festival mid-March this year, despite the difficulties they are confronting back home. They firmly believe that safe foods for their families are in the hands of the women at home.
Meanwhile, amid the attacks on several farmers’ organizations and the loss of lives particularly the recent killing of rice farmers and farmworkers in sugar cane plantations in Canlaon City, Manjuyod and Sta. Catalina towns, farmer leaders and members of MASIPAG organizations recently attended the 10th General Assembly recently held in Manila. The Assembly tackled, among others, RA 11203 Rice Liberalization law that is feared to adversely affect and totally jeopardize the country’s beleaguered agricultural industry. (davaotoday.com)