When Farmers Comes First: A Choice of Giving Back to the Farmers of Bicol

For every one farmer in the world, there are 19 in the developing world. In a survey conducted by the Philippine Statistics Authority in 2012, 12.09 million people work in agriculture. This amount figures to about 1/3 of the country’s total employment. However, even with all the people in that sector, the contribution of agriculture to the economy only makes up a mere 11%.

In Bicol, agriculture makes up 30% of the region’s GDRP and about 44% of the total population are employed in this sector. According to the Bicol Regional Development Plan of 2011-2016, most of the families in agriculture belong to poor and vulnerable sectors, most of whom are unable to complete their schooling due to lack of funds or access to quality education.

In 2001, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations released a position paper on the role of agriculture in developing countries. They emphasized that agricultural productivity is key to poverty alleviation. More than just food security, agriculture can also contribute to economic development through increased export earnings. In light of this, national focus has shifted to the margins - policy makers, government, and non-government agencies alike have begun pumping support for our local farmers through irrigation programs, modernization projects, and supporting local entrepreneurs and cooperatives.

Cooperatives for socio-economic development

The Philippine Agricultural setting is mostly small farm holders after the land reform. So it is very important to organize the farmers to cooperatives and association for economy of scale in production and pricing.

Cooperatives play a crucial role in reducing poverty as well as pave the way for rural development. Through cooperatives, farmers who previously lacked access to the necessary resources are now able to access new technologies through government support from Department of Agriculture , Department of Trade & Industry  and Department of Science & Technology.

Pili farmers of Bicol - once the poorest of the poor - are now able to augment their income through their cooperative with farmers from different provinces, harvesting and processing what we know now as Pili oil.

Pili oil is extracted from the pili fruit. it is only in the Philippines that the pili is commercially grown and processed. The nuts themselves have been found to contain 70% oil - akin to the Macadamia. The oil from other parts of the fruit itself is rich in Vitamin A and Tocopherol (Vitamin E), otherwise known as natural anti-aging components.

A beautiful partnership

Some farmers group from Sorsogon & Camarines Sur are already partners with PILI Beauty - an all-natural line of personal care products enhanced with pili and elemi oil. Through their harvest of pili oil, the farmers now receive a new source of income and through this, they can send their children to school & upgrade their standard of living.

The farmers are also taught zero waste management consciousness, making use of every part of the pili nut and pulp. This means less stress on the environment as well as reduced pollution in production.

PILI Beauty does not just want to provide short term livelihood solutions for these farmers, but to ultimately uplift the quality of life for those who belong to this sector. “Our goal is a long term relationship with these farmers that will help upgrade their standards of living,” said PILI Beauty’s visionary Founder Rose Tan.

At par if not better than Argan and Olive oil, PILI Beauty after extraneous research & creative innovation envision our very own Pili oil comparable to world class beauty product both local and  international market. More than the beauty benefits the pili oil can provide championing a local product ,we are pumping life into the backbones of our society & leaving it better than we started it.

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