Sunday, October 14, 2012


  For most of Asia, rice is the main food harvested. Most people have rice for every meal. For many it is their only food. For those that have more money, rice is still the basis for all meals with meat and vegetables added as their budget allows.
  Outside the Metro Manila area life revolves around rice planting and harvesting.
This is a photo of the roto-tiller type equipment (tractor) used to prepare the rice field for planting. The paddles prepare the soil (mud) to plant. This same machine will exchange the paddles for tires and it becomes their method of transportation with a trailer attached.
This is really old school, but is evident everywhere, as a Cariboa is used to till the soil for the next planting. Cariboa are used in place of a tractor in most areas that have terraces. The engine powered equipment can be too damaging to the fields in those areas.
After preparation comes the planting. In an adjacent field to this are young rice plants. They are pulled up and separated into the starts that the workers are planting. They work long hours getting the starts planted and do so quickly and in rows. The 'farmers' are paid 150 Ph.Pecos (under $4 US dollars) for a days work in planting. That is generally a 10 hour day.
The crop matures and eventually heads out with waves of rice.
The next step involves harvesting. With sharp curved knives they cut the upper half of the rice plant and put them in piles. This is the start of a pile that is generally very neatly stacked.
Then a thrasher comes in and the rice is harvested. The power for the operation is supplied by the motor off of the 'tractor' that was used for preparing the field. The pile of prepared rice plants is thrown in the top and the rice comes out the bottom and collected in the rice bags placed there to fill. The straw is thrown out the side and put in piles to burn when harvest is complete.
The full rice bags are then emptied for the rice to dry. Any available area is used to dry rice. Concrete roads are the preferred areas, but tarps will also work. When dry, the rice is put back into the bags and taken to the rice mills to complete the work and put into bags for sale in various outlets.
The 'farmers' (laborers in our country) are paid 1/8th of the total price paid for the crop. They keep track and share the money with all who helped. If it is a bumper crop, it is good for those that worked so hard. We pray for bumper crops.

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