The Contribution of Farm Products to Farmer’s Livelihood and Household Consumption in Leyte, the Philippines


Author(s): Carol A. Neal

Abstract

This paper describes the agroforestry farming systems through which crops, trees and small farm animals are produced and consumed by three farming families on Leyte Island, the Philippines, and the extent to which they contribute to the farmers’ livelihoods and wellbeing. A survey using semi-structured personal interviews was carried out to obtain data on cost savings of farm grown products consumed, health benefits derived and costs incurred in managing and maintaining each farm. There were notable differences in crop-tree arrangement and management methods used by the farmers. An estimate of the amount of product that was consumed by the households was conditional on crop choices and intensity of effort and inputs and offsets from off-farm income. Informal arrangements for bartering food, and coconut and bamboo product sharing for community use, made precise valuation of these products difficult, but comparative values against local market prices were placed on marketable produce. Labour and other inputs between the farms varied widely, depending on the type of product. In addition to crops grown as a source of income, portions of farm products were grown specifically for home consumption, and some non-consumable products were exchanged between households. The farmers had a basic understanding of the nutritional value and health benefits of all the food products they consumed for daily energy, health and medicinal purposes. They also believed that consuming their own farm-grown produce generated savings compared with quality and value of the same product from the local markets.

Keywords: agroforestry farming systems, food quality, livelihood, nutritional value, savings benefits