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The Land of Promise

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I live in the Land of Promise.  That is the name that Mindanao is called by many people.  Why?  Well, because of the abundant natural resources, especially when it comes to growing food for the country.  Mindanao truly is the bread basket of the Philippines.  I was shown some statistics a while back showing that Mindanao grows a huge percentage of all of the food for the country!

But, what about the people who work as farmers in Mindanao?  Are they treated fairly?  Are they appropriately rewarded for their efforts in feeding the country?  Most people would agree that these people are not paid fairly, and actually live in hunger and poverty in most cases.  Much of the food production in Mindanao is also grown for export, such as pineapples that are grown by huge multinational companies.  The famous brands of canned pineapple grow much of their fruit here in Mindanao, using Mindanaoans to do the work.  Yet, these people are generally not paid well or even treated well by their employers.

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Some of my own family has even worked for these large fruit growing companies over the years.  In fact, one of my brothers-in-law told me that he used to work for a very large American company, working in the fields.  He did tell me that working for an American company, he  was treated better than people doing the same job for some other companies that were owned and operated by Filipinos and also by other nationalities.  I recently came across a video on YouTube showing about food growers, and pineapple growers specifically.  I found the video to be interesting and wanted to share it with you.

One of the things that I enjoy about the video, as a side benefit, is that parts of it are in Bisaya (with English subtitles) and I enjoyed listening to the pure Bisaya, as here in Davao the language is often mixed with Tagalog.  Since I can speak Bisaya, it is nice to hear it spoken so purely, the way that I learned it.  If you want to learn how to speak Bisays, I would encourage it greatly, it is fun and rewarding.

What do you think about the treatment of the workers, as described in the video?

Bob Martin

Bob Martin is the Publisher & Editor in Chief of the Live in the Philippines Web Magazine. Bob is an Internet Entrepreneur. Bob is an American who lived in Mindanao from 2000 until 2019. Bob has now relocated back to the USA.

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Michael Boo
6 years ago

sad

Bob Martin
6 years ago
Reply to  Michael Boo

Michael – thanks…. you are a man of few words. 😉

jon.j.
jon.j.
6 years ago

Hi Bob, yes very bad for the workers. Some of these chemicals are very bad, I have now gone off pineapples.
Its so sad to see hardworking people being treated so badly.

MindanaoBob
6 years ago
Reply to  jon.j.

Hi Jon – I still eat pineapple, have not really thought about maybe I should not. A few years ago, Davao cut off aerial spraying of bananas.

jon.j.
jon.j.
6 years ago
Reply to  MindanaoBob

They are still air spraying here in Tagum.

MindanaoBob
6 years ago
Reply to  jon.j.

After they banned spraying in Davao City most of the banana plantations here closed down and moved elsewhere… like Tagum.

Nick
6 years ago

Hi Bob,

Brilliant video. Very sad to see what is going on. Glad I watched it. Very enlightening. Nick

MindanaoBob
6 years ago
Reply to  Nick

Thanks, Nick, glad you liked the video.

Wyatts Torch Farm
6 years ago

I could go on for hrs but I wont. I will say it is the same the whole world over in the farm and food biz. And all of life really. The govt. The corps. And the consumers all have a hand in this. Real wages have dropped everywhere in the world. Especially farmers and those that work the farms. Not just mindinao. Awareness is rising our food supply sucks. Period. It is killing us all. I hope change begins soon. But as long as people want inexpensive food it will not. Anyways I like the video. And now you… Read more »

PalawanBob
PalawanBob
6 years ago

I am desperately trying to achieve food self sufficiency here but you know what!?
It’s impossible to be 100% food self sufficient here.
You can grow some of the fruits and vegetables and you can even sell some of it, but for the rest, like rice, camotes or cassawa, it takes too much energy and money to make it.

MindanaoBob
6 years ago
Reply to  PalawanBob

I can see where living completely off the land would be quite difficult. I know that for me it would be pretty much impossible. I applaud you to be able to at least put a dent in it.

Bob Martin
6 years ago

You are right, and I don’t really see a solution on the horizon.

Wayne Broomfield
6 years ago

So sad that such gentle people are being treated so badly.. its the same though with the big chocolate producers. And the coffee producers .and mining companys.
I am eternally thankful that God is keeping just records .

Bob Martin
6 years ago

I think you are right, this is reality for most all of our food producers.

Edgardo Rimando
6 years ago

after my graduation from flight school…i went to bukidnon….delmonte corp…pineapple & bamana plantation to build my flying time….6 months later….i have to quit my job coz i see people getting sick as i sprayed DDT pesticides….i said to myself….i’m killing these people coz of what i do….

Wayne Broomfield
6 years ago

Edgardo..God Bless you and thank you for careing

queeniebee5
queeniebee5
6 years ago

Hi Bob. In simplified terms, bottom line as the narrator stated, “Will the multinational corporations ever be able to put profit over people?” Non-union workers who have sold their land have little recourse but to keep on working. These health and unfair labor practices are not new issues of course and have been happening among farmers and migrant workers to for a long time all over the world. The organic bananas here I would think, are also dependent on how much the consumer is willing to pay for organic produce to make it profitable. Are bananas in the Philippines presently… Read more »

MindanaoBob
6 years ago
Reply to  queeniebee5

Hi Queenie – on the blended bisaya, that is mostly in Davao, GenSan and the areas nearby. In most of the rest of Mindanao they speak more Cebuano, purely.

Della L. Vank Tyrrell
6 years ago

Made me sad but more than that upset. Upset at the horrid injustice by these huge companies. The use of the chemical Endosulfan is so wrong, especially when banned in the West. Profits over people! Love Filipino’s and love the beauty and diversity of the country.

Bob Martin
6 years ago

I guess the problem, Della, is that most all of us are supporting it by purchasing their food products. Sad indeed.

Della L. Vank Tyrrell
6 years ago

True.

PapaDuck
PapaDuck
6 years ago

Bob,
It’s very sad and unfortunate that people have to be treated like that in this day and age. Money is always put above everything. I myself prefer organic produce and other products when possible. Shipped several organic products over in boxes. Organic products in the US are becoming very competitive with standard products price wise. If they made the prices more affordable here for organic i think you would see more people switch. PalawanBob, Camote’s and Cassava’s grow very easily and are everywhere in our subdivision.

MindanaoBob
6 years ago
Reply to  PapaDuck

Hi Papaduck – Interesting that you were able to ship in organic products. I thought that most fresh products like fruits and veggies could not be brought past customs?

Elizabeth Bowers
Elizabeth Bowers
6 years ago

The people/farmers are really mistreated.

MindanaoBob
6 years ago

Seems to be so, unfortunately.

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