US firm trains mothers to become good farmers
Cargill Feeds & Nutrition, one of the largest agriculture companies in the United States, believes that Filipino women are very good farmers as it recognizes their contribution on Mother’s Day.
Cargill conducts several different training programs for farmers, depending on the level of their operations.
“Women tend to be very good farmers, either as decision-makers in the farms or hands-on in the operations. Encouraging more women and training and guiding them to become income generators through farming can result in better livelihoods and incomes for their families,” said Cargill Philippines country director Sonny Catacutan.
Catacutan said Cargill is committed to improving the livelihood of Filipino farmers, both men, and women alike, “by improving their farm system with the goal of increasing their profit. Improving farm efficiency also encourages them to expand their farming businesses.”
Cargill believes that women and mothers are natural multi-taskers who never seem to get their hands full, even if their to-do lists are loaded with items that still need to be ticked off. They always have an extra room for more; to do more for the people they love most, even being extra productive to ensure a better future for their families.
Minda Godoy Barlolong, 63, and Teodora Villasana, 50, from Barangay Panaga, Laoac, Pangasinan are both mothers and farmers at the same time.
Barlolong and Villasana are proud pig farmers who were able to provide for their families by breeding domestic pigs as livestock.
These supermoms did not hesitate to take on a task that was often regarded as a man’s work. They knew they had to do something to earn, as they would need this to support the future of their children.
“I even became a role model in our neighborhood, especially for unemployed moms. I was able to convince them to learn and do pig farming to give them a source of income,” said Villasana.
Pig farming isn’t an easy task and takes a lot of time and effort.
Barlolong said that when a pig is in labor, she has to monitor and watch the pig closely, even staying up all night.
“It’s also extra challenging when there’s an outbreak,” Villasana said.
To help these farmers, Cargill conducts training aimed toward farmers with backyard operations of less than 20 heads, to training to slightly bigger operations (20 to 100 heads), and even for commercial and industrial-sized operations (500 sow level and up).
“Regardless of the target type of farmers, the objective behind these training is to educate farmers on new and better ways of swine/poultry farming to help them be more productive and profitable,” Catacutan said.
Cargill uses this venue to also share the best management practices they have learned globally, and introduce tools and technologies being used by commercial team in providing services to the farm to help them earn more.
“One sample topic we have in the backyard farmers is the Purina Four square programs [good breeding, careful sanitation, sound management and good feeding),” he said.
Villasana said the trainings were not only able to equip the women farmers of the right tools and knowledge to improve the way they do swine/ pig farming, but also helped them improve their livelihood and increase their income which allowed the parents, especially the women farmers to give their children education.
“I was able to fund my kids' education because of all this. I have two kids, one was a CPA graduate; the other, a Law graduate,” said Barlolong.