“ I Dreamed of having enough to build our own house and send my child to school”- Gamay
Mercy Matunog, commonly called in her place as “Gamay” is a young rice farmer in rural Palimbang. Her name Gamay (which means small and thin in the local dialect) is the exact opposite of her stature now that she’s just turned 29 years old. When she and other 4 siblings were younger, her parents involve them in the farm works already. Farming is their main source of income.
She finished third year high school and after that, she tried to work overseas (as the common trend among youth in her place finding greener pasture) but it turned out to be only an attempt. Having no choice, she worked as a baby sitter for quite a while in Luzon and in 2010, she finally returned to her hometown. In 2011, she had the chance to work as a cashier in a special pilot project of Pasali Philippines in the System of Rice Intensification. She handled cash and payments to farmers and laborers until eventually, she handled an experiment where she and a colleague did farming also.
Now she’s married and raising a one year old baby boy. Her husband, Roy is a fisherman and a farm laborer during off-season. Due to her husband’s seasonal and meager and income, they need to earn more specially for their baby’s need. This cropping, one year after she gave birth, she said, she will go back to farming.
“ Mag-farm ta kay basig diri ta makaluy-an” ( Farming might just give me my jackpot”). Hoping to make it big this cropping, Gamay together with her husband Roy, will work on a half hectare rice land owned by Pasali.
FARM MACHINERY STATUS
Farm preparation is done by a hand tractor, which can service up to 10 hectares of rice land. Private individuals charge farmers up to 10,000 pesos (Euro 200) to use them on 1 hectare. Pasali charges farmers less than half of that; which generally covers operating and maintenance costs.
With an upgraded machinery pool, (with a Tractor, Rice Harvester and Planter) @ a lower rate, Pasali expects to be able to service up to at least 125 hectares of farm lands (and help around 100 farmer-families). This will qualitatively increase the food production and the income of farmers like Gamay and might as well convince more youth and women to farm.
Gamay and her baby looking out to one of the fields she was monitoring before