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Like many women in the Philippines, Carmilina Dalid thinks big and works hard.

“I have dreams, so I have to work hard,” she said. “I want to carry on dreaming for my grandchildren to finish schooling.”

HOPENZ has been honoured to help Carmilina accomplish her goals through the Sustainable Agriculture Project in the Philippines. The 69-year-old recently completed the project in Ting-Ting Barangay, a village in the Kauswagan Municipality. She’s a widow from the Cebuano tribe and has a Grade 6 education.

Carmilina was able to take part in the project from the start and has seen remarkable improvements, thanks to the training sessions that teach the locals about the best farming methods in difficult and dry terrain. Some of the topics covered during the training sessions were organic farming, upland rice farming, raising livestock, agroforestry sloping agriculture land technology and alternative pest management – each topic covering vital information when it comes to farming in the Philippines.

The impact of each training session was huge for Carmilina. She was able to increase her cultivated land by one hectare, gaining an extra 30%. She’s used the increased land to plant rice, vegetables and 10 fruit trees and has adopted sustainable agriculture techniques of diversified cropping and organic fertiliser, as well as pesticide application.

The local farmer’s association offered the use of farm equipment to assist Carmilina’s projects. With the use of a farm tractor, rice and corn mill and rice thresher, she has harvested an additional 2400kg of rice and 300kg of vegetables this year alone.

As production increases, Carmilina has been able to sell in the local markets and save seed for the next cropping season. She no longer needs to buy staple foods and is able to provide nutritious meals for her family.

Carmilina has seen a 70% increase in farm income, bringing in 1900 NZD to use on food, shelter, education, clothing and medicine. She’s built a new house, bought a motorbike and paid for her daughter’s wedding. She’s now the acting president of her local farmer’s association and is involved in all of its activities.

The farming knowledge and increased production has created a strong sense of confidence in Carmilina – she’s taken on leadership roles in her community and is instrumental in resolving conflicts. The dreams are being realised.