CAMARINES SUR – MASIPAG member organization Bayanihan Farmers Organization (BFO) is a farmers’ organization based in the Bicol region specializing in the organic production of sugarcane, corn, rice, and vegetables. With its members being Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries (ARBs), they have been cultivating the land through sustainable agricultural practices since 2007. As an organization, BFO ensures that the knowledge and techniques acquired through continued practice of farmer-to-farmer exchanges and hard work in their farm are documented and utilized to strengthen their organization, production, and local processing and marketing initiatives.
Aside from the individual farms, the organization has a common area where they cultivate vegetables, corn, rice, and sugarcane. In particular, sugarcane is processed into “sangkaka”, native sweetener used in a variety of regional delicacies. During the series of pandemic-induced hard lockdowns, sangkaka were marketed in the surrounding areas and online as a source of livelihood.
Currently, member farmers of Bayanihan Farmers Organization are facing threats with regards to land tenure and ownership- a common trend being faced by many Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries farmers. Despite this threat, BFO is committed to its mission of collectively producing safe and nutritious food for their community.
Upholding the essence of Bayanihan, veteran practitioners in sugarcane processing from the Bayanihan Farmers Organization recently initiated a training in muscovado production and other training relevant to their interests and livelihood to its members.. As a result, BFO farmers managed to efficiently produce muscovado and other goods from their own sugarcanes.
With the current volatile climate on livelihood and land sustainability amid the on-going pandemic and global crisis, farmers from Visayas more than ever continuously extend their support, skills, and experience in muscovado production to capacitate other farmers. This exchange of knowledge and methods fueled the optimism and militancy of BFO farmers to fight for their livelihood and right to land.