Philippine Standard time

Characteristics of Rural Households in Island Communities: The Case of Masbate

This paper reports the results of the household surveys conducted in lowland and upland communities in Milagros, Masbate. The household surveys aimed to establish a baseline of the socio-demographic profile and farming practices of the rice farmers in the study areas before the intervention of the CRDES Project. A total of 240 farmers were surveyed – 150 from lowland communities (Narangasan, Capaculan, Tawad, Cayabon, Bacolod) and 90 from the uplands (Matagbac, Sawmill, and San Carlos). Among the data gathered are the biophysical characteristics of Masbate, the socio-demographic characteristics of farmer- respondents and their households, and their technological practices. Milagros, a first class municipality in the second district of Masbate, is composed of 27 barangays/villages that are mostly agricultural-based. Farming and fishing are the main sources of livelihood of the people in the municipality. As of 2012, the poverty incidence in the Milagros registered at 49.6%. This implies that almost half of the households situated in the municipality of Milagros is having a hard time meeting their basic food and non-food needs. At the provincial level, the poverty incidence estimate is lower at 40.6%. From the data, it can be seen that despite being a first class municipality, a considerable percentage of the population in the province is still finding it hard to meet their daily needs. According to NSCB (2013), the poverty threshold for the country was Php 7,890 in 2012. This amount is the income needed to meet the basic food and non-food needs of a family of five. In 2014, the poverty threshold is higher at Php 105,336 in a year. From the baseline survey, it was discovered that 80% of the respondents have income that are below the poverty line. For the 2015 survey, on the other hand, all respondents were found out to have income that is below the poverty threshold of Php 108,786. Results of the survey indicate that majority of the respondents depend on agriculture for their subsistence. Majority of them are male and married. The average age of rice farmers in the lowlands and uplands is 49 and 45 years old, respectively. Most of them are elementary and high school graduates. Rice is the main crop planted in the study areas. A few also plant root crops such as cassava and sweet potato. Monocropping is the dominant farming system followed by respondents and on average, farmers in the lowlands get to plant more frequently than those in the uplands due to a number of factors which include insufficiency of water. The average area allotted for upland rice production is generally greater than the average area allotted for rainfed rice production; however, the yield per hectare of rice production is relatively higher in the lowlands than the uplands. Rice production in the study sites is affected by a variety of factors ranging from pests and diseases to climate variability. In cases where insufficiency and lack of crop yield is observed, respondents look for other sources of income. Most respondents venture in poultry and livestock production for personal consumption and additional income. Some respondents also have other non-farm sources of income which include employment, pensions, and remittances. Regarding enhancing farm productivity and income, there is a great opportunity for improvement in both study sites. Farmers are very driven to learn new ways of farming and are very motivated to improve their yields.


This publication has been cited time(s).