Rosita Dumpang looks out the window of her house and sets her sight on their 0.7 hectare rice field that is now in the ripening stage. “We have waited for two months and now it is almost harvest time’’, she says beaming with smile.
It is this moment that farmers like Rosita live and work hard for. Harvest time means income and sustenance for their families.
Rosita lives in the rural community of Palacio in the town of Dagami, a few kilometers from the City of Tacloban, Leyte. The fifty-two-year-old mother of ten children joins her husband Pablo in tilling their land. She also takes care of her octogenarian mother .
“They say that women are not capable to work in the farm because we are weak. But I am no weak or lazy woman. I can do what a man can do just for the sake of my family. Even my husband thinks I am the better farmer,” says Rosita.
In every cropping, Rosita handles the harvest activities, including managing and storing of seeds for the next crop. On top of that, she is usually responsible for threshing and milling the rice that the family will eat. She is also the decision maker and manager of the household cash. “I decide which food supplies and farm items to buy,” she explains.
Before Typhoon Haiyan, the family owned a coconut farm that was the major source of income. With their rice farm, they would harvest almost 40 sacks of rice– an abundant supply for their food consumption. “Life was really easy for us back then. We didn’t have to borrow money,” she recalls.
But all was changed by the super typhoon. The coconut plantation was totally destroyed. The family had to borrow money to go back to rice farming as well as to support their basic needs and her children’s education. “Our children were forced to work as farm laborers to help the family,” reveals Rosita.
All the 98 households in Palacio are mostly tenants and farm laborers who all borrow money to keep their livelihood going. There is no irrigation in this community and the fields are infertile without the rain.
“When we learned about the Economic Recovery in Leyte project of ADRA, I immediately thought that our prayers were being answered!” she exclaims.
Farmers in Leyte are getting assistance from ADRA through financial literacy trainings as well as cash grants to make sure that they are able to restore and sustain their livelihood after Typhoon Haiyan. Rosita is one of the hundreds of farmers who are part of the program that is being implemented in three municipalities through the funding from Swiss Solidarity and ADRA International.
Rosita was able to get a cash grant from the project that will help her family increase their rice production as well as solve their growing debts. She attended the capacity building trainings where she and hundred more farmers learned how to make livelihood project proposals as well as manage their finances efficiently.
“I promise to adopt the knowledge I gained on the ‘’Innovative Rice Farming Training’’ conducted by ADRA that focuses on System in Rice Intensification (SRI) as well as on how to make organic fermentations. I want to show to our barangaythat through the SRI farming technique we can gave lesser expense and yet greater gain or income in rice farming,” she explains.
As Rosita looks on her rice field now, she feels that better days are coming for her family.