KALIBO, Aklan -- A farmer warned of an increase in prices of vegetables in this town in the coming days, as El Niño phenomenon continues to heat up in the countryside.
Nestor Cesar, 59, president of the Barangay Mobo Farmers Cooperative, said Wednesday, April 3, that 90 vegetable farmers have temporarily stopped planting vegetables due to lack of access to potable water.
The Barangay Mobo is considered the primary source of vegetable supply in Kalibo and Boracay Island.
“As farmers, we need help. We do not know whom to turn to. We do not have connections with any government agencies who could help us. We expect starvation in the entire duration of El Niño,” said Cesar.
The high cost of vegetables could amplify due to the season of lent. Many Catholics preferred to eat vegetables and fish especially on Fridays as part of the traditional repentance sacrifice during Easter.
“I expect that as El Niño worsens, buying vegetables may double due to its high demand and low supply,” he added.
Cesar has been known in the village as the sole farmer who plant a purple corn variety in Western Visayas.
He said he gets his seeds from Cebu and propagate the seedlings in Kalibo, Aklan.
“I have eight hectares of mixed purple and sweet corn. As a result of El Niño, I may harvest half of what I had planted. This is only temporary though as we await for rainy days to come,” he said.
Unknown to many, Cesar’s purple corn has slowly becoming a new farm tourism destination in Kalibo. Some tourists from nearby Boracay Island visits his farm to experience harvesting corn products.
“Those who visited were Americans and European tourists. A group of women in Boracay has been organizing this activity,” he added. (SunStar Philippines)