David Carbon and wife Dioscoro couldn’t hide the sincere smiles on their faces as they wait with confidence for the harvest of their red rice a couple of weeks from now. This is because the couple and the 25 other members of Carcor Organic Farmer’s Association (COFA) are now systematizing the marketing of their organic rice in a fair price (very affordable so to say) to the enlightened consumers in Davao City and Davao Region, who sympathized with the situation of the small-scale organic farmers and their determinations to finally untie themselves from the control of the middlemen and traders, a major factor why organic rice is very expensive when it reached the city, creating a wrong notion that it is only for the rich.
During our most recent visit to their farming community in Barangay Carcor, New Corella, Davao Del Norte, David, the elected Chairperson of COFA says “I couldn’t hardly believe that the price per kilo of red and black rice is that much when sold at the supermarkets when, in fact, the buying price of the palay (unmilled rice) here is just 22.00 pesos and sometimes drops to 18.00.”
David started with organic farming in 2002. His knowledge improved over the years of perseverance and determination. In his 1 and ¼ hectare farm, David, together with wife Dioscoro (don’t find her name something unique for a woman when her birth certificate tells it so) plant not only rice but bananas, coconut, cacao, several other fruit trees, some vegetables, and lots of flowers. They also raises cow and pigs to supplement their regular income. The couple is, indeed, a practitioner of Diversified Integrated Farming System (DIFS) or agroecology as it is internationally known, long before this practice became more popular now in a global response to effectively address the impacts of COVID-19 and Climate Change.
Their efforts have resulted to good outcomes. Like many other organic farmers out there, David and Dioscoro are seed and food secured all year round, with regular sources of income, some improvements made on their house and, most importantly as they proudly say, sent their two children to college. The eldest, Divane, has been appointed as Focal Person for Organic Agriculture in their municipality.
At 68, David stands firmed with the advocacy of Agro-Eco Philippines (http://agroecophilippines.org/switzerland-liechtenstein-and-norway-are-undermining-farmers-rights-to-seeds-in-the-countries-of-the-global-south/) and regularly participates in the provincial and regional activities of the network.