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1 Simple Shift to Boost Incomes of Rural Women

I used to take pride in my haggling skills. I would move from one vendor to another just to get a discount. The bigger the price slash, the more successful I feel. Success in this matter, big or small is addictive. I only came to my senses when I began to ask myself, "If I were to produce this product myself, how much will I charge?" The answer is many times over its prevailing price in the public market.

It occurs that farmers, both women and men, do not pay themselves for the labor they put in food production. And when they do, the amount is below the liveable minimum wage. The same is true with fisherfolks, weavers, flower growers, backyard vegetable farmers. This is one of the reasons why the rural sector in the Philippines are in a state of perpetual poverty.

Consider this. It takes more than 15 steps and 7 days to make one (1) unit of mat. If we pay their time from harvesting of reeds to weaving, a piece of mat (banig in Filipino) can actually cost nearly a thousand pesos. And yet we want to get them at Php 150.00 or barely $ 4 USD a piece?

The next time you go to the market, be prepared to pay for the right price. Don't haggle for the price of a kilo of eggplant or fish, a piece of handmade mat or softbroom, a bunch of flowers or bananas. They were most likely produced by women and men who toiled for days under the scorching heat of the sun just to produce one (1) unit of the product.

This is just one small step. What else can we do to help improve incomes in the rural areas? Please join the discussion.

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olutosin's picture

Thank you my sister Paulina

I do not haggle, most of the rural farmers sell below th ecost price just to hold money in their palms. One day, a sister here on Worldpulse was telling about how she haggled in a market in Lagos, and she now told the woman to give one of the products as gift, the woman refused and my sister on WP, now said, may you throw it away since you refused to give me. That was my last discussion with here, if she were poor, i wont have been angry.

When we say we help women, one of the way is to buy from them, put them in our shoes when we haggle adn give them opportunities to grow,

I will do my best.

Olutosin Oladosu Adebowale
Founder/Project Coordinator
Star of Hope Transformation Centre
512 Road
F Close
Festac Town
Lagos-Nigeria

https:

Paulina Lawsin's picture

Like your last sentence

Like your last sentence sister. That's once concrete and direct way to help women microentrepreneurs. Unless, we think this way, it will be hypocrisy to claim that we are helping in empowering women.

Good luck in your endeavors always.

Paulina

olutosin's picture

Thanks sis.

We are together in this journey.

Olutosin Oladosu Adebowale
Founder/Project Coordinator
Star of Hope Transformation Centre
512 Road
F Close
Festac Town
Lagos-Nigeria

https:

JaniceW's picture

Thank you for this wake-up call

Paulina,

In the tourist markets in Cambodia, the price to foreigners was set higher because the seller knew that the buyer would haggle and in fact, the practice was encouraged in tour guide books. In saying that, my local guide would also take pride in haggling and getting a good price. Viewing the transactions from an economic standpoint, the final profit was not even enough to put food on the table of the seller.

Putting the "game" of haggling aside, from a human perspective you are saying to the seller that you do not believe the value they are placing on their goods is fair. Essentially you are saying that you believe $4 is too much to spend on the labor and the several hours it has taken for that woman to make that mat. Let's say the materials cost $1, transportation to the market and back $1, leaving $2 for the two hours it takes to make the mat. Now, turn that around and imagine if someone told you that they thought your labor and time was worth less than $1/hour.

We need to value our brothers and sisters around the world as we expect to be valued ourselves. As you suggest Paulina, let's start with this one step and demonstrate to those we interact with their worth as human beings.
Janice

Paulina Lawsin's picture

Hi Janice. Thank you for

Hi Janice. Thank you for pointing this out. I should edit and add a sentence (to emphasize the point that we shouldn't ask for a lower price because the true cost of producing the product is more than the selling price) lest I will be misunderstood.

Essentially, I am saying that I believe that $ 4 is too low knowing that if fair wage is paid to the laborer, a piece of mat can cost nearly a thousand pesos or $ 25. The minimum wage in the Philippines varies across regions. The wages in the rural areas are lower than the cities. In fact, minimum wage in Region VIII where the mat is produced is 260 pesos ($ 6.5) or less than $1/hour. http://www.nwpc.dole.gov.ph/pages/statistics/stat_current_regional.html

There's much to correct in valuing labor - government policies, business practice and consumer behaviour. So much to wake up.

Have a great day.

Pauline

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