Philippine Rural Development Project : Laborers survive ‘tiempos muertos’ through income from raising swine
Date Published: December 8, 2017
The lean months-a long period before the harvest season-are considered 'tiempos muertos' among hacienda laborers of Negros Occidental. Without a steady income during the off-milling season, hacienda laborers resort to availing themselves of loans to survive.
In Hacienda Caridad I, Barangay Luna, Cadiz City, the laborers' wives ventured into swine fattening to augment their families' income. Super typhoon 'Yolanda' (international name: Haiyan), however, damaged the pigpens on Nov. 8, 2013. This caused more problems for the laborers and their wives.
Having risen from the rubbles left behind by 'Yolanda,' the Caridad Hog Raisers Association-its members include the laborers and their wives-availed themselves of assistance from the Department of Agriculture's Philippine Rural Development Project (DA-PRDP). The P563,040 subproject, swine fattening enterprise, has already completed two cycles this year. It increased their households' income.
'The [DA]PRDP has provided our association a big help,' said Wilma Dignos, project manager of the Caridad Hog Raisers Association. The residents here have moved on from 'Yolanda.' They were able to build new pigpens that are made of bamboo and native materials.'
She said their income for the past two cycles this year had been a big help in their daily expenses, especially for their children's allowance in school.
'I know you have heard of the term 'tiempos muertos' in this area. Through this subproject, the members' income has increased, and we were able to get through the off-milling season because of the extra income we earned from swine fattening,' Dignos said.
Wilma Dignos, project manager of the Caridad Hog Raisers Association, shares the members will already receive their dividends by yearend. (Remegio S. Soqueño, RPCO 6 InfoACE)
STICKING TO THE BUSINESS PLAN
Their income from selling the fattened swine, Dignos said, is more than enough for the members because they are already provided with the piglets and feeds. Their share is their labor in raising the swine, which are sold after four months.
'Individually, each member can earn a net income between P1,500 to P2,000 per pig. That is their net income. So, if they can sell at least three, imagine how much that amount can add to their income,' Dignos said.
She said the members profited from the enterprise because they followed the 'proper ways' of raising swine. This, she said, they learned through the assistance of the Provincial Veterinarian's Office that regularly sends technicians to check on their swine. They also attended seminars and trainings conducted by the DA.
'We are also fortunate because aside from the technical assistance we received from the [DA]PRDP, they also trained us on bookkeeping and how to manage our finances properly,' she said.
Dignos said another key factor in their enterprise's success is 'meeting the objectives of the business plan after these two cycles.' The members religiously observed the guidelines stated in their business plan like proper feeding and the number of days before they sell the pigs.
'By strictly following the business plan, our buyers are assured that our swine's meat is of good quality. That is why our meat is in-demand among meat dealers in Cadiz City,' she said.
The association has also entered into a contract with these buyers, Dignos said. This is another practice the DA-PRDP introduced to ensure they will have a regular market.
FUTURE LOOKS HOPEFUL
The members have earned extra income from the enterprise this year, especially during the 'tiempos muertos.' According to their conservative computation, each member can receive a minimum of P5,000 at the end of the year.
'We are truly grateful to the DA-PRDP for our income and the dividend from the enterprise. Moving forward, we hope that the enterprise can expand because we still have a space that can accommodate at least 140 heads more. We hope that we can build another pen to be able to raise more swine so we can regularly supply to our buyers every month. It can be a challenge to keep up with their demands,' she said.
Dignos said they envision that their enterprise can have its own meat shop and can also venture into processed meat products.
'Our enterprise's success this year is the result of the members' cooperation. It is not a perfect organization, but the members are aligned in their objectives,' she said.
With the wives at the helm of the enterprise, and the husbands helping out during the off-milling season, the future looks hopeful for the members of the Caridad Hog Raisers Association. If their profit this year were to be the basis for their enterprise's future, then the laborers can survive the 'tiempos muertos' in the coming years. (John Paul Firmalino Cadiz, Writer, RPCO 6 InfoACE)