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From Quezon to Misamis Oriental, women coconut farmers struggle to make both ends meet

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

From Quezon to Misamis Oriental, women coconut farmers struggle to make both ends meet

“Our income as coconut farmers is only enough to cover our expenses for a few days. To survive on the other days, we eat bananas and sweet potatoes.”
CAGAYAN DE ORO, Misamis Oriental — Mylene Santowa, 31, and Dioselyn Marianas, 51, are hundreds of kilometers away from one another. They have not met in person but as coconut farmers, both share the same problems that are rooted in landlessness and poverty.

Since 2007, Santowa has never missed a peasant caravan, a nationally coordinated activity organized by peasant groups every October. These gatherings, where she gets to meet other peasants who are struggling for genuine agrarian reform, inspire her, knowing that she is not alone.

Santowa, who earns primarily from harvesting copra, said she inherited this livelihood from her parents. The land that they have been tilling in San Francisco, Quezon was awarded to their family only in 2007 under the condition that they would pay $11 per month for 30 years.

“But with an income of only roughly $46 every harvest season or at least every two months, we could not afford to pay the monthly amortization,” she told Bulatlat.com in Filipino, “We could not even have a decent meal.”

When asked how she manages to make both ends meet, she replied, “I also do not know how we have been surviving.” Her husband Mileton was forced to leave their hometown to work as a cook in a small eatery in Sampaloc, Manila. While her husband earns $70 a month as a cook, “he still have living expenses in Manila. We are lucky if he could bring home at least half of what he earns.”

Marianas, on the other hand, who live hundreds of kilometers away from the province of Quezon, said she also could not imagine how their family manages to survive day after day. They harvest copra from the nine hectares of land that a well-off Mercado family owns in Ginoog, Misamis Oriental. Every harvest or every three months, Marianas said they earn only about $14.

“It is only enough to cover our expenses for a few days. To survive on the other days, we eat bananas and sweet potatoes,” Marianas said, adding that they also sell cassava on the side for only $0.51 per kilo.


Their conditions, said Marianas, have worsened over the years because of unwritten policies and practices. They have brought these issues before the local government but it has not acted on their concerns.

In Misamis Oriental, Amihan Northern Mindanao, a women peasant organization, said 103,258 out of the 161,599 hectares of agricultural land are allotted for the coconut industry as of 2010. But the scale of the industry in the region did not reflect that of the livelihood of the people working on the ground..... MORE


URL: http://bulatlat.com/main/2011/10/26/from-quezon-to-misamis-oriental-women-coconut-farmers-struggle-to-make-both-ends-meet/

1 comment

Jesusa Bernardo said...

pag pinayagan talagang mamuno ang hindi tunay na halal, ganyan ang nangyayari. at iyang away kuno ng sc at ni abs, moro.moro lang yan na mula't sapul ay hindi ko kinakagat. kayo?

"Peasant organizations have earlier criticized Aquino’s deafening silence right after the Supreme Court decision. Anakpawis Rep. Rafael Mariano said, “Before, Danding and the Aquinos had estranged personal and political relationships. Now, they’re all engaging in economic concessions and political accommodation. Is this a result of a long-hatched sweetheart deal or a Supreme Court-brokered deal?” he asked."

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