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Bernardo Pelayo, 48, is a family farmer from Layong Mabilo Village, Cavite Province. Pelayo is a widower who has been raising his four children—two sons and two daughters—on his own for the last 21 years. He has been able to send all four of his kids to college through money he has made by farming his land, raising and selling livestock, and occasionally selling bananas and other crops from his father-in-law’s farm to local markets.

By 2014, Pelayo was exhausted by his nearly constant work and frustrated by his meager income. He decided to develop and till his late wife’s farm with hundreds of cardava banana trees and to tend his father-in-law’s farm animals.  Late in the year, Pelayo joined the IIRR’s Family Farming Project. IIRR helped Pelayo develop and diversity his farm with root tuber crops, peanuts, ginger, pineapple, and several types of fruit trees.

Pelayo’s children supported their father’s new endeavors. His eldest daughter invested 10,000 Pisos ($191 USD) to buy additional Rambutan, Durian, and Mangosteen trees, while his eldest son works on the farm almost every day.  Pelayo’s two younger children, who are taking technical-vocational courses in Senior High School, help their father tend to farm animals and to plant fruit trees and crops. His younger daughter hopes to study Agriculture in college.

Pelayo is very eager to attend his IIRR trainings, which continue to provide new knowledge about farming techniques. In collaboration with the organization, Pelayo recently planted different varieties of peanuts to check their adaptability and tested hybrid legumes (cow peas mixed with rice beans). Pelayo’s hard work is starting to pay off, especially with his banana trees and cash crops. He looks forward to reaping further harvest in the months ahead.