Delia Abrina of Yamang Bukid Farm focuses on herbal and ornamental plants. (photo by Dianne Datu)

Valued and recognized – Yamang Bukid Healthy Products, Inc. (YBHPI), the leading manufacturer of Turmeric with Gynura procumbens 10 in 1 Instant Herbal Tea in the Philippines, is certain that women have a vital role in agriculture as they are present throughout the supply chain, therefore hiring women as farmers, agriculturists, and farm managers.

From shared accounts, women are only represented by a few that do light farm jobs in agriculture but Maricel Fullo, Jonabae Duran, Marilyn Cenit, and Delia Abrina, some of the farmers of Yamang Bukid bring women to limelight through their stories.

Maricel and Jonabae used to help in clearing mountains thru illegal logging and burning wood lumps.

“Ang hirap kasi ng buhay noon. Wala naman akong magawa kundi tumulong na lang para may pang gastos,” (Life was hard. I had no choice but to dwell in that kind of work so I have money to spend) Maricel shared.

Maricel Fullo and Jonabae Duran arrange packed substrates in preparation of growing mushrooms at the Yamang Bukid Farm. (Photo by Dianne Datu)

“Habang nagpuputol ng puno ang asawa ko, nandoon din ako para mag lookout kung may manghuhuli,” (I was with my husband when he was illegally cutting trees. I served as a lookout if someone will arrest us) Jonabae said.

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Both Maricel and Jonabae are now growing mushrooms at the Yamang Bukid Farm.

“Kaming dalawa ni Jonabae ang nagpapatubo na ng mga mushrooms sa farm. Mula sa paghahalo ng kusot hanggang sa pag-ani,” (I and Jonabae are now growing mushrooms at the farm. We do everything from mixing substrates up to harvesting) Maricel continued.

“Tuwang-tuwa ako na natututo ako dito sa pagtanim. Marami palang paraan at gamit kaya nag-eenjoy talaga ako. Kaya na nga namin dito sa planta. Pwede na kami maiwanan,” (I am glad that I learn so much here at farming. I am enjoying my job as I discover that there are different technologies. Our superiors can leave us now as we know all the technicalities) Jonabae said.

“Wala na. Tapos na ang pagpuputol at pag-uuling. Dito na ako sa tamang trabaho tapos nakakatulong pa sa kalikasan,” (I’m done with illegal logging and burning wood lumps. I will work now at a legal job that helps the environment to thrive) Jonabae continued.

Marilyn Cenit, one of the young agriculturists of Yamang Bukid Farm arranges dish gardens for display and selling. (Photo by Dianne Datu)

When asked about the workload between male and female farmers, “Kaya naman ng babae ang mga ginagawa ng mga lalaking magsasaka. Kayang matutunan” (Women can also do what men can. It can be learned) Delia stated, a farmer of herbal and ornamental plants in Yamang Bukid Farm.

Marilyn, one of the young agriculturists at the farm, also emphasized that the contributions of women in agriculture should not be underplayed. “Dapat kasama sila sa agrikultura dahil may alam at pake ang mga kababaihan sa pagpapakain ng bansa. Parang nanay ba na nagpapakain ng anak. Isama sila sa pag-angat ng antas ng mga magsasaka,” (Women should be involved in agriculture because they also have knowledge and care when it comes to feeding the nation – just like a mother who wants to feed her child. They should be included in raising the profession of agriculture).

“At dahil nagtatrabaho nang maigi ang kababaihan, dapat sinusuklian ito ng tamang sahod, benefits, at incentives. Pareho sana sa mga kalalakihan para na rin maramdaman ang bunga ng pagtrabaho nila. Dito sa Yamang Bukid, nabibigay ‘yan lahat sa amin,” (Women who work hard should receive proper salary with benefits and other incentives equally with men; so they too can feel the fruits of their labor. Here at Yamang Bukid Farm, we were showered with those), Marilyn specified.

Farmers are widely recognized and appreciated in the Yamang Bukid Farm. They also receive awards from different government agencies and private groups in recognition of their hard work.

These women just recently joined Yamang Bukid Farm. After knowing their budding stories, there is still a long way to go to empower more. In even small acts, people may appreciate and include women in agriculture as it will largely impact their lives and the industry. They are potential leaders and co-workers who can contribute in nourishing the nation by increasing food supply and strengthen food security.

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