Farming is an oldies work- this is the common belief. If young male farmers are rare nowadays, ladies cannot be seen in the field. However, in the rural area of Palimbang, Sultan Kudarat , Philippines this is starting to change.
Mercy Hermosura is a cashier and secretary to the farm technician in the Rice Contract Farm (RCF) but you don’t see her in the office. She handles money, book keeps, does inventory, and records the progress in the 5.5 hectares contracted land but you often see her in the field coordinating with the farm technician. Before , she is just hanging around. She doesn’t know farming fully though her parents both farm. Now, she does more than the cashier’s work. She knows about seed selection, pest control, water, weeds and soil management – monitoring works of farm technician. She is only a high school graduate.
Now, she is one the earners in their family. Since she worked in the RCF opportunities was opened to her family as well. Her brother, mother, father takes two or more part time job in the RCF as marker, planter, sprayer, harvester, thresher, and other labor works. Thus, they have a regular source of income unlike before they only have to wait for planting and harvesting time for work opportunities. Her sister Bai, a college undergraduate takes some of her recording tasks thus, becoming a trainee.
Mercy is just one of the hired youth in RCF. There are several other young out- of-school men who operates farm equipments like hand tractors and thresher and participates in farming as well.
Farming youth indicates that youth can now take key roles and equal responsibilities with old men and women in farming. They are capable of doing the ” important things” that only the old ones used to do. In these days when farmers are becoming extinct, it is a challenge to convince youth to farm. If they see farming as a career, then they won’t have to leave their hometown for work in urban areas or abroad.