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'Pineapples are my gold mine'
Filipino farmer Rosalina Malubay spent most of her life in extreme poverty. With support from Trias, she has now become a successful farmer.
Rosalina (56) grew up in a family of nine children and her parents had to struggle to survive. They ran a small farm in the province of Camarines Norte, some 400 kilometres east of the capital Manila.
'We were lucky to get a two-hectare plot through land reform initiatives for the cultivation of coconuts, bananas and pineapples', Rosalina remembers. Today Rosalina still works on a piece of land that she received from her father. For years, she has had to fight to cover her family’s basic needs, but she now believes that the lean years are behind her.
Training and credit
'My two sons started to give me a hand on the farm', she says. 'More importantly, a few years ago I joined a local farmers' organisation. After a training course, I met the requirements to obtain a loan which meant I could invest more in certain crops, especially pineapples.'
The farmers’ organisation which Rosalina belongs to is the Labo Progressive Multi-Purpose Cooperative (LPMPCO), a partner of Trias Philippines with over 6,500 members. The organisation not only provides microloans, but also weaves pineapple leaf fibres into high-quality fabric to produce textiles among other activites.
With the money we earn now, my children do not have to look for a job in the city.
In order to continue her success story, Rosalina must strictly follow the good agricultural practices required by the farmers' organisation. 'But I'm not complaining', says the farmer. 'This focus on quality is both literally and figuratively bearing fruit.'
Last year, Rosalina produced over 10,000 high-quality pineapples for the first time, and she was paid the equivalent of 1,150 euros for her crop. Not bad if you know that the average monthly wage of university-educated employees in Manila is 200 to 250 euros.
'A few years ago, I would never have dared dream that I could ever earn an income from my farming activities', says Rosalina, who sounds hopeful about the future. 'With the money we are earning now, my two children do not have to look for a job in the city. That reassures me.'