Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Kawawang Magsasaka at Mangingisda (3)

There was a time when the stratification in the sector of agriculture is so simple. There are those who own the land, and most of them do not directly work on their fields; and there are those who do not have a land to till, but work as farmhands to the landowners.
The landowners then and now lord over the landless peasants. They have control over the production, too, since it is most likely they who finance the entire cropping season of, say, rice. They do not soil their feet, and still get the most of the pie -- as it were -- of the farm produce.
The landless peasants (katiwala, or kasama) do not possess a land. They work on the field owned by the landlord. Usually, the landless peasants reside where the fields that they till but do not possess are. They are paid based on a pre-agreed terms. Some are paid on a regular basis; some are dependent on their share of the produce of the land.
Between the landowners and the landless peasants, a dependence-relationship exists. In this relationship, as in capital-labor equation, the landlord (capitalist) always has the upper hand.
Observably, another strata in the sector of agriculture has emerged. These are the -- in the parlance of the progressive groups in Occidental Mindoro -- manggagawang bukid. Like the katiwala, they do not have land to till; but unlike the katiwala, they roam around for labor. They come from one barangay and proceed to another barangay where the planting or the yielding of palay is. They are paid on a daily basis. No work, no pay. I wonder how they make both ends meet during the lull period, i.e., between the planting and the harvesting season.
Also, it is to be mentioned here that the manggagawang bukid are practically governed by a kabisilya. The kabisilya is a middle man. He serves to bridge the gap between the landowners and the manggagawang bukid; that is, he negotiates for both parties.
I suppose, there is a reason to include among these groups the capitalists -- who may not be owning a farmland, or may not have any interest in growing palay or any agricultural products -- whose only stake in this sector is the loans that they extend to the farmers -- usually with a very high interest rates -- and the agro-chemical business that they maintain and from which their wealth proceed.
Hindi nakakapagtaka... Ang agrikultura ay hindi na itinuturing ng iba na hanap-buhay...

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