In this picture: Missing hills in the front part.

One of the goal of the RCF is to take a farmer into a process that while his land mortgaged to us, he can have the chance to redeem it by tilling his own land and learning the method of System of Rice Intensification to achieve greater yields so he can pay off his land within a span of 5 years ( maximum).  However, some beneficiaries aren’t convinced with SRI yet. It is hard for them to do SRI because of the following reasons:

Lack of discipline and perseverance.

In the farm, we make it to the point that we will only use synthetic pesticides if after having tried different natural and organic ways, the pests are not yet controlled. On one hand, we agreed not to  use herbicides in controlling weeds since we have weeders that can uproot weeds at the same time aerate the soil which is helpful in root growth.

We have a hard time in the farms now, because the farmer beneficiaries who are supposed to do the regular tasks in the farm like replanting missing hills and weeding are not done religiously. As a result, extra labor costs are incurred by the management because farmers are not doing their job on time and with the effort they are supposed to give on a daily basis. They don’t want the hard jobs and they always need to be told, “do this, do that” instead of working independently .” It’s like they don’t want to redeem their land.

Even in some of their lands that were not mortgaged to us, they don’t even take care nor innovate in their conventional type of farming. The management realized that cutting their wages wouldn’t change their mindset so given this kind of farmer behavior, it clearly shows that we need to revise a compensation system where their share/pay will be based on their output at the end of the cropping instead of monthly salary. No matter how we want to help the farmers but if the farmers themselves don’t work with the will to redeem their land, it wouldn’t change their lives for the better.

Farm Mechanization

One of the reasons why farming is a lot of work, is the insufficiency of machines that makes work efficient. For instance, we want to promote the non usage of herbicides through using rotary weeders but because its design is not yet efficient and we don’t have enough of it, weeding still takes a week for a hectare. Thus, it is still a big work increases labor cost. The neighboring farmers laugh at us saying, ” If you used herbicides, it would take just one day.”

But youth are excited with machines. One time, we tested for the first time the new mechanical sprayer. It  took only 2 hours (   more or less)  to spray a whole hectare). Otherwise, it would take the boys a whole day to spray a hectare using the manual type.  I cannot forget how the volunteers  proudly shared their experience with other colleagues.

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