Building a Family Legacy

Maam Ginging hopes her granddaughter will one day take over her farm.

Maam Ginging can't recall a time when farming wasn't part of her life. 

The 66-year-old grandmother started helping her parents when she was 7, taking breaks to attend school. During harvest time, there were no school breaks. Still, she managed to finish high school.

Now she manages the four-acre farm in Davao, Philippines, that she inherited from her parents, growing mostly coconuts, as well as coffee, bananas, mangoes and cocoa.

Farming is becoming a family business for her, too. Her husband works on the farm and she's grooming her granddaughter to one day manage her own farm.

Though she thinks farming is a good business, in the last few years erratic weather has played havoc with her farm. 

"I used to harvest 3,000 coconuts every few weeks before El Nino. Now it's just 1,000 coconuts," she explained. 

Each year, at least one typhoon batters the Philippines. In 2013 alone, coconut farmers lost 33 million trees to Typhoon Haiyan. Dry spells with low water levels is another problem.

This is devastating for coconut farmers, who are among the poorest people in the country. Maam Ginging herself earns just $1,200-$1,400 per year.

But she is encouraged by FarmerLink, a new program launched by Grameen Foundation earlier this year. It helps Filipino farmers strengthen their businesses and manage the risks from changing weather patterns by providing weather information and farming advice. This helps them guard against climate-sensitive pests and diseases, invest in better supplies and equipment, and diversify their farms so that they are not overly reliant on just a few crops.

Women farmers in the Philippines often toil in the background and have less access to resources, opportunities and information. FarmerLink changes that dynamic, ensuring that half of the farmers it serves are women. 

Maam Ginging likes the farming advice -- especially since she can listen to it on her radio while she farms. She also received new coffee and coconut seedlings to replace her aging trees. Now she’s eager to get help with fertilizer to further increase production.

With your support, we can help more women farmers like Maam Ginging. From now until December 31, every dollar you give to Grameen Foundation will be doubled up to $275,000, thanks to Jane Pauley and the Grameen Foundation Board of Directors.