By MARY LOU O. MARIGZA
In San Mariano, Isabela, we interviewed a woman farmer leader who raises yellow corn on their three hectare farm. The computation below is for one hectare of land:
Total expenses reaches P25,340, the breakdown are: 1 bag corn seeds RRC2 P8,000; 4 bags abono P4,000; 4 bags urea P4,640; Pesticide spraying P1,300; Labor arado, eras @100/day for 2 laborers P400; labor mag-aabono P100; labor magtatanim for 5@100/day P500; snacks of laborer P500; Harvest for 10 persons P1,000; Thresher fee P2,200; Hakot@10/sack P1,000; Drying @100/day x 3 days x 4 persons P1,200; Freight from barrio to Centro SM P1,300; 100 pcs empty sacks P1,000.
Sixty-five (65) sacks will fetch P39,325 (each sack contains 55 kilos and each kilo sells for P11).
The net income (income P39,325 less expenses P25,340) is P12,985.
In four months, the average monthly income for a hectare is P3,426.25. Her family plants corn in three hectares so roughly they could get P10,000 monthly on corn alone. Their family holdings consists of another hectare planted to rice for family consumption while another hectare is planted to bananas, cassava, other root crops and vegetables and yellow corn for food.
However, she said this is hardly enough since she has three children going to school who need daily “baon” and expenses for school projects. And planting corn like planting rice is never fun! It is labor intensive and the harvest is not for consumption but for feeds for animals. Cassava is also a problem. There are only three traders in San Mariano who dictate the selling price of cassava. If it is dry, the traders buy it for P8.00 per kilo but if it is fresh it sells for only P2.70 per kilo. It takes about four days to dry the cassava if the sun shines the whole day.
So she was enticed to contract her land for “ethanol” planting. Initially, the Green Future Innovations Inc contracted their land for P5,000 as nursery for the sugarcane they need to produce. The GFII is experimenting on which of the four varieties of sugarcane they have chosen would be the best suited for ethanol production. The woman farmer regretted having to lease her land to ethanol. The work is still backbreaking and requires a lot of input.
After the national fact finding mission in February where the land and contracting problems surfaced, she joined others who had contracted with GFII in a rally in the municipal hall of San Mariano to ask for better conditions and better pay for the laborers. As a result, they were able to ask for an increase of P5,000 to the original P5,000, so now the new leases are for P10,000 a hectare of sugarcane planting. She contracted for three years with GFII.
She said she wants out, but she has to stick it out with “ethanol” for two more years. Good for her, the family only leased three hectares. Others were less fortunate. They leased all their land for the ethanol nursery. # nordis.net