03 October, 2023
Ginalyn Daguasi, 41 years old, left teaching to be a farmer and has now been farming for seven years in Pinagsabangan, Naujan, Oriental Mindoro, Philippines. She is very happy with her new career.
"I earn more without any tight deadline pressure. I'm the boss, and I can sleep the whole day whenever I want to!"
Ginalyn doesn't have much time for sleeping all day, however, because aside from her responsibilities in the family farming business, she's also an active secretary officer in four community farming associations and is a dedicated farmer and mother with big aspirations. Whenever there's no school, her 18-year-old daughter also joins her and her husband on their 2ha farm. They grow a variety of crops like long beans, Chinese cabbage, lady's fingers or gumbo, bitter gourd, tomato, eggplant, maize, and rice.
Like other farmers, Ginalyn faces challenges like natural disasters, pests, and balancing multiple home responsibilities. Their once 2 ha land has now been reduced to 1.5 ha, which has affected her family's farming income, "The river swallowed it after weeks of flooding", she shared with dismay.
Managing pests and diseases
To avoid losses due to pests and diseases she and her husband monitor their crops carefully. Ginalyn conducts regular early morning scouting of the vegetable crops (i.e., long beans, Chinese cabbage, gumbo, bitter gourd, tomato, eggplant, and maize) while her husband focuses on monitoring the rice crop. When asked about her top three priorities in managing plant pests and diseases, her responses are scheduling, monitoring, and recording activities.
"I schedule to focus on one crop per day; I monitor to ensure my crops are receiving appropriate nutrients so I can tell my husband when it is time to add an organic fertilizer; Lastly, I record the dates we plant, harvest, and apply fertilizer. Monitoring the plants after fertilizer application is critical because that is when various insects attack."
Ginalyn says that she has observed that with the changing climate, there has been an increase in the surge of pest attacks. (e.g., vegetable worms and armyworms); she is, therefore, very interested in learning more about sustainable ways to manage such pests and diseases.
Sharing the work
Ginalyn and her husband share the work on the farm, from soil preparation, planting, pest monitoring, harvesting, marketing, and selling and they don't hire farm labourers. Ginalyn is also responsibile for their family's budgeting, "I'm the one who manages our finances and I budget for our farm and household expenditures." But the decision-making regarding financial matters is done in consultation with her husband, she explains. Despite all the challenging responsibilities of being a farmer, she chose to farm full-time, which she gains a lot of enjoyment from.
"I can't contain my happiness, whenever I see my crops flourishing, especially when I start to see plentiful harvest."
When asked about her ultimate dream as a woman farmer, Ginalyn tells us,
"I want to become a farm manager who owns at least 5 ha of land and is able to employ farm labourers. To achieve this, I would need to gain more farming knowledge and additional support to have quality inputs.”
You can watch our interview with Ginalyn here.
We hope this blog sparks further discussion on the importance of the role of women farmers in integrated pest management and sustainable agriculture. The 2023 Women as IPM Leaders Webinar Series under the ASEAN FAW Action Plan starts soon! Find out more information and join us by going to https://www.aseanfawaction.org/women-as-ipm-leaders
The ASEAN FAW Action Plan would like to thank the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade for their generous support of this programme.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Marren Bonacua, a proud alumna of the University of the Philippines, is deeply passionate about involvement in various fields, ranging from trade and food security to nutrition and women's issues. Beyond her professional pursuits, she enjoys reconnecting with nature and spending time with friends. You can connect with her on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/in/gmbonacua or at email@example.com