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.
Tweet your ideas to @BlousesnCauses.
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