Filipino farmers face many challenges amidst the pandemic; from the lack of capital and mechanization to the high cost of output and the painfully low pricing of their products in markets, not to mention the lack of support from the Philippine government. Hence, millions of those tilling the fields are plunged into poverty.
Fortunately an ever increasing number of nearby people are getting into supporting “farm-to-table” initiatives; private groups eliminate the middle man and help with transportation expenses of conveyances by utilizing on the power of the internet.
Besides, numerous associations are presently paving the way for making sustainable income for farmes, one of which is the non-profit association ‘Masipag Mindanao’, which is working hand-in-hand at the hip with People's Action for a Liberative Agricultural Industry (PALAI) in turning rice straws or dayami into eco bags made out of rice straws or dayami, a by-product of harvested palay.
In the rural town of Sto Niño in South Cotabato, women farmers have joined together to endure the pandemic, seeing nobody but themselves and their creativity as plan of action.
The female individuals from the PALAI are transforming rice straws into eco bags, protecting the environment as well as their local community when farming's job in a country's survival has never been more obvious yet still overlooked.
"Nakikita namin dito sa Sto Nino na after the harvest, sinusunog yung mga dayami which is nagiging problema pa sa environment natin. So isa sa mga member namin dito, nagsuggest na instead of sunugin, gawin nalang ecobags," said Joffrey Jofax Frinal of PALAI.
Prior to the pandemic, rice costs were falling, all thanks to the Rice Tariffication Law. At the point when the pandemic came and brought the underappreciated community of farmers the issue of limited production of goods, the ladies of PALAI went cunning.
"Malaking tulong sa mga farmers natin. Siyempre alam natin naging biktima tayo ng Rice Tarrification Law. Bumagsak yung presyo ng palay, maliit nalang yung kita ng ating mga magsasaka. Isang paraan ito na madagdagan naman yung kita nila sa pamamagitan ng mga eco bags," said Frinal.
According to Gary Ben Villocino of non-profit farmer network ‘Masipag Mindanao’, social media played a huge role in helping farmers realize how practical online selling was. Upon going viral, orders started surging in such speed that overwhelmed the farmers with gratitude.
"Sana marami mga tao na makarealize na yung mga magsasaka natin, kapag sila ay supported, appreciated, they have the capability to do great things," Villocino said.
The eco-bags are being sold at P35 per piece and comes in different sizes.
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