Allan (48) works as a mason and his wife Mardy (46) is a snack vendor. They have six children all living with them with ages ranging from 10 to 26 years old as well as a 3 year old granddaughter. Allan is paid 500 pesos ($10) a day for his masonry work but the work is irregular especially since the pandemic began. Mardy supplements his income with her snack vending which gives her a net income of 1,000 pesos ($20) a month. Their combined average income of 5,000 pesos ($100) is is just enough to meet day to day needs.
The two eldest sons, Laniemar and Hector were working in Cebu as construction workers and sending money to help their family but they both lost their jobs when the pandemic broke out in March 2020. It was only in October when they were finally able to come home through a government assistance plan to help stranded individuals.
Since their return, the two brothers have been working as construction workers and helping their father cultivate their 2,500 square meter rice farm. The farm yields 20 sacks of unmilled rice every four months half of which is kept for home consumption and the rest is sold. The family obtain a net income of 30,000 pesos ($600) from their sales of rice each year.
Allan with the support of his family has taken out a lease on a 3,500 sq. metre piece of land so that he can cultivate more rice. He hopes to harvest 30 sacks of rice every four months. The agreement with the landowner is that he will pay all the expenses and get two-thirds of the harvest and the landowner will get one-third. Allan is applying for a loan to enable him to purchase a carabao (water buffalo) so that he can plough his own land. A further benefit of having a carabao will be that he and his sons can hire out their ploughing services to other landowners.
Having an additional 3,500 sq. metres of land to cultivate and ownership of a carabao should enable the family to obtain additional income of 60,000 pesos ($1,200) a year. Allan is happy to have his two eldest sons home and all three of them are excited about the prospects for their farming endeavours. We wish them well.
Analyn T. Gallibot