Guillerma Farms was a fifteen hectares’ sugarcanelandholding formerly owned by the Yupangco family but was later covered byDepartment of Agrarian Reform (DAR) under the Comprehensive Agrarian ReformProgram (CARP). The said landholding was given to the farmer-beneficiaries bymeans of collective CLOA for the farmer beneficiaries to ease up even a littlebit their way of living by means of having now their own lands to till and asthe sole owner of their produce.
But as we went to the field we observed thatnot all the farmers that was awarded with a parcel of lands are sustainableenough because they could not yield a high production from their small lot andthat their profit is very small which is they need other extra income in orderfor them to sustain their family’s day to day needs, to send their children toschool and to finance again their small acquired land for the next croppingseason. The land area arable in a flat terrain and is verymuch suited for the sugarcane crop but still, the farmer’s yield of productionis low because of lack of training, and support services from the government,which is for me is very vital for the management of their land and for theproduction side. Also, the sugarcane crops are physically observed as low innutrition due to inadequate of farm inputs like fertilizer and irrigation.
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Moreover, the cooperative has its own steamedpower/operated muscovado processing but the said machinery is not functionaldue to lack of funding and support services from the government agenciesspecifically for the Department of Agrarian Reform, since under the DARRepublic Act 6657, under section 35 of the said law there is a provision forthe coordinative and support services that will guarantee for the cooperativedevelopment management through intensive training, as well as to guarantee forall their agricultural produce. Although they have their own title lands as theavailable resources, still it is observable that they are very much lack ofsome other necessary resources for them to be called sustainable enough.Hence, Tatay Adriano De Guzman and Tatay ArmandoPanganiban, said that they are using the Pampanga Variety (var. 56), because asfor them the said variety is very much suitable for the location, and it canwithstand drought since they have no irrigation system. The standing crop isalso observed physically as lack of nutrition because according to them theyhave to budget their fertilizer for it is very much costly, and they cannotafford to buy different kinds of fertilizer which is needed for the cropscomplete nutritional requirements since they have to budget their income andhave a savings which they said will be intended for their other productioninputs until the next harvest. Despite the shortness of time of visiting thecommunity and talking to some of the members of the cooperative like TatayAdriano De Guzman (a.k.
a. Tatay Danny) with an acquired parcel of land of lessthan one hectare married and with five children, Tatay Armando Panganiban(a.k.
a. Tatay Manding) single and also with less than one hectare of acquiredparcel of land, Tatay Gregorio Ellao, which is the President of thecooperative, farmer leader and as the same time the Barangay Agrarian ReformCouncil Chairman (BARC), Nanay Remedios De Guzman which is the wife of Mr.Salvador De Guzman whose the one that sold his parcel of land to CARRD, welearned so much from them most especially on how they manage to sustain theirbasic needs, their small parcel of lands, their family and on how they continuefighting poverty amidst their situation and setbacks in their life as farmerbeneficiaries, father to their children, members of the cooperative and itreally struck me when they told me that they haven’t received any supportservices such as production inputs from the government side, and some trainingfor production and cooperative management which could somehow help them intheir sugarcane farming and cooperative management. Also, one thing that struckme is the fact that, in their old age they still continue tilling their landsthrough thick and thin under the striking heat of the sun because they don’thave any children who are interested in farming, tilling, and/ or even managingtheir own acquired small parcel of lands because true to the children nowadaysare less interested in agriculture. Likewise, the usual problem of crop damage due to whitegrub infestation where they call it here as “Ulalo” caught my attention and italso struck me because till now the government has not done something to helpsmall farmers like them to survive that kind of ordeal. Furthermore, the field trip to Guillerma Farms locatedat Barangay Caybunga, Balayan, Batangas could be perceived as one of themeaningful moments in learning as we all go through the road of ruraldevelopment and it could be distinguished as a one rare moments of socialexperience that provide us students to encounter and have a glimpse of what isreally happening in the field, what are the problems that rural people arefacing, how farmers like them continue to strive hard in order to survive, howthey are able to feed their families and sustain their day to day needs despitethe fact that their annual yield of production and net income is very much notsustaining. Also, I learned that despite their annual net income of 50,000.
00for a less than one hectare of land planted to sugarcane they still manage tosend their children to school and on how to budget that small amount of moneyand have a savings which will be used for their next cropping season in orderfor them not have to borrow money to other people which for them will take someyears to pay along with the interest. Likewise, I learned that while there areso many public officials spending so much money on projects that are lessimportant, training and seminars that are replicated and less necessary,proposing project that is not the most priority of the people most particularlyin the rural areas, there are so many people out there living in ruralcommunity, so many farmer beneficiaries that are in need of support service andfinancial and technical assistance, training and seminars that the governmentleft unattended and not given of utmost priority and importance, and then I know that there are so many ruralcommunities that needs to be develop and empowered, for them to be fullysustainable and for their next generation. Thereare so many challenges that the rural community still facing and they are allrelated to access to basic needs, support, and services, sustainability,development, and empowerment. Hence, I could relate what I have experienced inthat short of community visit with my work, by way of constant and continuedlearning for development in order to bring forth a sustainable agriculture tothe rural community where it is most likely needed, where food safety andsustainability should begin with.
Through empowerment, where we all know thatis necessary for those brothers and sisters of ours living in the rural areas.Also, those experiences could be much more of a relation in the manner ofpursuing every opportunity that comes along, always be on a positive side oflife and that keep on showing everyone that even though we have less than whatothers have we should always know how to show them that we are credible,responsible and tough enough to face every problem that throws our way. Thatregardless of what we have or how much we have, we should not discount everyopportunity and every blessing that we might have or have been experienced oreven failed to highlight that has been given to improve little by little theway our work and our life have to be as we all come to fulfill our needs andthe needs of others especially those in the rural sector of the society withpassion for everything that we do as we all know and even believe ruraldevelopment comes along with empowerment, sustainability, and success.