Cabbage farmers in Cebu brace for the rainy season
DALAGUETE, Cebu—As early as 4 o’clock in the morning, this 39-year-old farmer and mother of four, is already preparing for breakfast.
Everyday, except on Sundays, Vicenta “Bising” De Luna walks for about 2 hours to reach to their farm in Sitio Grandchina in Barangay Mantalongon, Dalaguete, southern Cebu, approximately 3 kilometers away from her house.
“Wa pay alas syete sa buntag kinahanglan toana mi kay layo ang baol, magbaklay pa. Sayo gyod momata aron dako’g agi kay kinahanglan magkugi,” said Vicenta.
(We have to be there at the farm before 7 o’clock because it’s very far from our house and we need to walk to get there. It’s best to wake up early so that we can do more because we need to be more industrious.)
Farming has been the family’s main source of living since she started her own family at the age of 18, about 21 years ago.
Dalaguete, which is known as Cebu’s vegetable basket and its Summer Capital, stands approximately 1000 meters above sea level based on GPS altitude.
The months of March to mid-May is a good planting season for farmers here.
Unlike other places here in Cebu, the weather in the mountain barangay remains cold even on summer.
But as the rainy season comes, Vicenta hopes the incoming rains will not destroy her cabbages.
“Nindot ipananom kung sugod sa ting-ulan. Apan anha na mangadaot or mangalata gyod kung kada adlaw mag-ulan unya magkusog pirmi ang ulan,” said Vicenta.
(It is good to plant at the start of the rainy season. But these will be spoiled if it heavy rains will happen every day.)
“Sakto ra gyod karon June puhon kay magsugod nami og panagdag sa among repolyo. Apan inig homan og dagdag, mangandam na pud para mananom og balik,” Vicenta added.
(The timing is right for this coming June when we will harvest our cabbages. But after harvesting them, we will have to prepare to plant again.)
There are at least three to four planting cycles for farmers every year depending on their chosen crop or vegetable.
Cabbages are grown for two to three months and this is the second cycle for Vicenta.
The wet season
The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) said the start of the wet season might be felt by the last week of May or the middle of June.
According to Vicenta, it has been consistently raining here for about two weeks now.
Local farmers here like Vicenta will have to bear with the incoming rains as usual, saying planting also involves luck.
“Kung ting-uwan na, mananom lang gihapon mi. Bahalag mangalata tungod sa uwan kay mao man gyoy among kabuhian, wala mi mahimo,” she said.
(Even if its the rainy season, we will still continue to plant our crops. Even if these will be spoiled because of the rains but that is our livelihood so we cannot do anything there.)
“Mao lagi na nga kupot gyod mi sa among budget ana kay sa tanan bayan utanon, kaning repolyo ang pinakadako og gasto. Mangandam pud mi para ipuhonan ana. Pero kaning pananom, swerte-swerte man pud ni,” she added.
(That is why we are tight with out budget for this because among all vegetables, planting cabbages has the biggest cost. We will have to prepare for our capital for that. But farming involves also luck.)
Last month, farmers here were faced with a problem on oversupply and very low price of vegetable produce.
It is only on mid-May when the prices slightly went up.
As of today, May 30, 2021, a kilo of cabbage is sold at P18 per kilo in the public market here.
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