Filipino farm­ers join to­gether

South Waikato News - - NEWS / HE PU¯RONGORONGO - By CAITLIN WAL­LACE

On the out­skirts of the South Waikato, Har­vey Cabug works on a farm of 600 cows and dou­bles as the pres­i­dent of the North Is­land Filipino Farm­ers As­so­ci­a­tion.

The newly-de­vel­oped group was es­tab­lished last year and has drawn in hun­dreds of farm­ers.

Forty-year-old Cabug, who is work­ing at a Waotu farm in his sec­ond sea­son, said he helped found the group to help oth­ers like him­self.

In 2008, he left his job in Saudi Ara­bia where he helped man­aged 5000 cows.

He no­ticed it was com­pletely dif­fer­ent to New Zealand farm­ing.

In Saudi Ara­bia, he was only as­signed to one job and the stock were kept in sheds.

It all came down to a can of milk made in New Zealand which sparked his de­sire to im­mi­grate.

‘‘This is my dream . . . I saw that and I al­ways ad­mired it.’’

But the de­ci­sion to move did not come with­out hur­dles, he said.

‘‘It’s a big chal­lenge for us . . . You can­not ex­pect what will hap­pen ev­ery day.’’

And that is where the as­so­ci­a­tion came in to help.

Mem­bers are able to call one an­other when prob­lems arise.

He said their num­ber one goal is to im­prove as em­ploy­ees to keep ev­ery­thing run­ning smoothly.

‘‘ Our mission as Filipino farm­ers is help­ing farm­ers.’’

The group meet once a month where they bond so­cially and through their trade.

They also help each other with the prepa­ra­tion of each new sea­son. ‘‘This is our sec­ond home, we need to work hard.’’

Fed­er­ated Farm­ers pro­vin­cial pres­i­dent Chris Lewis spoke at a din­ner held in De­cem­ber.

Lewis ad­dressed the room of about 200 peo­ple with a short speech.

As an ex­pe­ri­enced farmer, he pro­vided in­sight on em­ploy­ment agree­ments and job de­scrip­tions.

‘‘ I asked them what they wanted to hear . . . when you come to a coun­try, you are un­aware of the rules.’’

He be­lieved the group pro­vided sup­port, sim­i­lar to the young farm­ers as­so­ci­a­tion.

‘‘I guess it makes them feel like they’re at home.’’

Lewis said there are thou­sands of Filipino farm­ers in the coun­try and Cabug ex­pected num­bers to grow.

Farm­ing devel­op­ment: Har­vey Cabug has helped bring Filipino farm­ers to­gether in the newly es­tab­lished North Is­land Filipino Farm­ers As­so­ci­a­tion.

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