Growing food despite climate change and the pandemic through ‘GUGMA’
By : Vic Thor Palarca Mindanao Today/02:05:30pm 08/18/2021
(Photo courtesy of Vic Thor Palarca)
EMALYN Cagobcub – “Had I not known the farming technologies taught by the City Agriculture Office and ATI, I would not be productive today in terms of my farming endeavors.
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My harvest nowadays is a big improvement than my harvest before. Way better.
I am very thankful to the trainings on organic farming and urban agriculture because I was able to apply such technology like the production and application of Oriental Herb Nutrient (OHN).
In one harvest alone last December 2020, me and my husband Richard were able to profit P14,000 from selling ampalaya and string beans.
Our ampalaya in 800 hills is a bestseller since it is a Galaxy variety F1 hybrid from EastWest.
We also have other crops and vegetables like okra, corn, banana, coconut which we sell when we are in town.
We were into backyard gardening before, and we were just as fortunate to have received livelihood support from ATI like chickens and vegetable garden seeds, while CAO gave us vegetables seeds comprising of a chopsuey set.
In our farming experience, we have now a pattern in planting crops which aligns with the season.
During summer, we plant ampalaya and string beans. Come rainy season, we plant corn.
In our 10-hectare farm area, there are seasons when our crops are pestered with fungus or blight, that’s why we consult with our local technician.
Mobile communication proved to be an effective way to sell our produce.
My husband and I were able to fix a price and sell to them over the phone.
Sometimes, we post our farm goods and sell it through social media since my kids are adept in using Facebook.
In many instances, we arranged our own transport, went to nearby barangays and sold vegetables and other farm goods.
If we don't plant and produce, people won't get food.
We also have our basic needs and in these difficult and trying times, giving up is not an option.
Mary Ann Mugot Virtudazo – “I am blessed enough to already have a group of ‘suki’ based in Tugasnon.
Whenever there is an order from them, I deliver whatever vegetable is in season like eggplant, string beans, ampalaya, pechay, Chinese kangkong, and okra.
Normally, I earn P1,000 to P2,000 per order.
In our three-hectare farm, we make sure that it is utilized all year round.
I am also grateful to have attended various trainings on organic agriculture and urban agriculture provided by the DA, ATI, and TESDA.
In my life, I have never experienced anything like this pandemic.
My family was constantly worried about me. I was also worried I might bring the virus home.
But I had no choice, we depend on our farm and in selling of vegetables.
I am hopeful that once we get vaccinated, me and my family will once again enjoy our lives like we used to.”
Marisa V. Payla – “Since we work with our hands through farming, we have no income, let alone savings, if we don’t farm in this time of pandemic.
Some of the members even resorted to borrowing money from their relatives and neighbors.
With that money, they barely managed to have some food and cover the bare necessities, that’s why we work hard in the farm to have a good harvest.
As a member, I don’t put the hassle and burden to send all my vegetables to my co-farmers whenever they go to Poblacion every Thursdays.
Normally, one farmer member can bring up to 200 kilos of farm goods.
What I do, I limit in sending up to five kilos per vegetables. On a weekly basis, I can earn P700 up to P1,500 from selling ampalaya and string beans.
Most of us here were scared last year since the vaccine weren't accessible yet.
None of us or our family members were infected with covid-19, but we were often worried we would be.
I have to say that our farming business isn't as flourishing as it used to be before Covid.” (To be continued)