Credit sources A very small proportion (18%) of the SP farmers could finance their own project. Most of them borrowed from private money lenders (29%), traders (28%), banks (14%), co-farmers (6%) and relatives (5%) at varied interest rates ranging from 6 to 120 % per annum. It was noted that the private money lenders and the co-farmers imposed the highest interest rates which ranged from 30-120% per annum and the lowest from relatives (6-18%) per annum; banks (7.5-21%) and traders (8-20%). Membership to farmers’ /community organizations Majority (88 or 57%) of the SP farmer respondents were members of farmer organizations/coops such as the following: • Ugnayan ng mga Katutubo • South Farmers’ Multipurpose Cooperative • Culubasa PMPCI • Self-Reliance PMPC • Banaoang West Irrigators PMPC • Bukal ng Pag-asa • Sapang PMPC • Sta. Lucia Zone 3 PMPC • Ginintuang Samahan Association Membership to these organizations is one source of security of the farmers because of the benefits offered in terms of programs and services among which are production loans, animal dispersal, cattle breeding, cooperativism, cattle fattening, peace and order and the Gintong Ani program. SUMMARY, CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATION The 154 farmer-respondents in this study came from six (6) barangays in four (4) municipalities in the province of Tarlac (120 or 78%) and four (4) barangays in two (2) municipalities in the province of Zambales (34 or 22%). Almost all (151 or 98%) are male with an average age of 46. The youngest was 20 years old while the oldest was 76, mostly married, with an average education of 6 years. Majority are Ilocanos and are Roman Catholic. The average household size was five (5), the biggest of which was 10 and the smallest was two (2). Almost all of them had farming as their permanent occupation with an average annual income of P59,415. The highest household income was P331,200 and the lowest was P2,440. The households studied exhibited entrepreneurial skills by engaging in
various off-farm and non-farm activities. Their marginal condition made them versatile for survival. Taking the household income from all sources, the annual average was P117,020, with P838,620 as the highest and P13,000 as the lowest with Tarlac farmers generating more income than farmers in Zambales. As to their level of living, majority (57%) belonged to low level. Less than onefourth had average level and a little less than one-fifth belonged to high level of living. Based on experiences and long-time observations, the farmers had classified the soil into four (4) categories namely: sandy loam, clay, sandy soil, and lahar soil and had developed indicators that corresponds to their classification. They had few superstitious beliefs relating to SP production and had utilized indigenous tools, practices, methods, machines and equipment which they used in the various stages of SP production. Regarding gender roles, there had not been any activity which was a monopoly of either men or women except on two off-farm activities. The sharing of work and responsibilities was not only true to farm operations but to off-farm activities as well. There were also available agencies and support services related to INM present in the communities studied. The agencies advocating INM are: Department of Agriculture, Central Luzon State University, Tarlac College of Agriculture, Sta. Monica Social Action Development Center, and Cooperatives. The programs of these agencies covered the use of organic and inorganic fertilizers, use of indigenous varieties, use of low input requiring varieties, composting, and fertilization. Credit sources were also present in the area for the financing of the farmers’ SP projects. These include the private money lenders, traders, banks, co-farmers, and relatives. The private money lenders and co-farmers imposed the highest interest rates. Majority of the SP farmer-respondents were member of farmer-organizations. Membership to these organizations is one source of security among farmers because of the benefits from the programs and services offered. This study clearly shows that farmers in the different depths of lahar deposits survive because of hard work and ingenuity. They used and applied all possible means to bring back the productivity of the soil. While doing this, they engaged in other economic activities to augment their income. Since soil is the issue in their production, there is a need to upgrade their existing knowledge and skills on integrated nutrient management through training and participatory research and technology development. This could be possible since there are available manpower in every households studied-men, women, and children.