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It was in the month of July 2020 when the problem occurred from Barangay Mantalongon in the Municipality of Dalaguete. Farmer's livelihood has been affected by the COVID-19 Pandemic where there was an oversupply of vegetables specifically cabbages which results from lots of rotten vegetables wasted prompting farmers to call for help and this went viral on social media.
Based on the farmer’s feedbacks, these are the following problems/issues:
a. The majority of the farmers have common planting times according to seasons or weather conditions.
b. Peak harvest time with same produce vegetables grown which is cabbage.
c. Due to restrictions and protocols implemented by the government, this results in decreased numbers of traders from Mantalongon Dalaguete Cebu to travel, deliver and drop off to different areas in Cebu City. Mostly from 30 truckloads per day down to 6-10 truckloads recently.
d. Establishments such as restaurants, school canteens, hotels and etc. were temporarily closed.
e. Lack of cold storage for the surplus vegetables.
f. A decrease in demand, it leads to a price drop and excess cabbages got rotten.
Mantalongon is one of the sources of vegetables in Cebu City and Cebu Province Vegetables are grown from family gardens to large farms dominated by smallholder farmers. Dalaguete is home to 8,000 vegetable farmers. They can produce 16 types of vegetables and 80 percent of the vegetables were sent to Carbon Market. Farmers cannot stop producing and selling because their lives depend on it.
The Municipality of Dalaguete specifically in Mantalongon, after directing the cause of the problems should obtain the following objectives:
a. To ensure the supply of vegetables, mostly cabbages would not go to waste.
b. To act and prevent to lessen the burdens of the farmers.
c. To come up with marketing strategies with multiple farmer groups.
d. To establish tie-ups between the traders and farmers from other towns and communities.
e. To seek assistance from the Provincial Agriculture Office and other Government officials.
STRENGHTS VS. WEAKNESSES
* Produce tons of assorted vegetables and categorize each vegetable according to its kind.
* Farmers are skillful in cultivation and harvesting methods.
* Cold Temperatures give a big factor in the livelihood of the residents which is farming.
* The main source of vegetables around Cebu City and Cebu Province.
* Seasonality affects the harvesting time and results in an excess of vegetables.
* Not enough cold storage for perishable goods.
* Inconsistency of the consumer’s demands.
* Loss of profit due to wasted and rotten vegetables.
* Farmers have a common planting time.
These are the recommendations that correspond to the stated issues/problems:
Since there’s a big population of farmers from the said Municipality and the Economy of Agriculture (farming) is present, I recommend creating a group or organization for farmers to categorize each town on what sorts of vegetables they should plant so that in harvesting time, it won’t result to oversupply on the same vegetable. For example, Baranggay Nalhub for (scallions), Barangay Dumalan for (gabi or taro), and this can be changed in every harvesting time like a cycle process.
When the pandemic started, last year, borders between Cebu City and the territorial jurisdiction of Cebu Province were restricted. In order for the farmers to avoid oversupply, these vegetables must be delivered. I recommend intervention with the Government officials to unhampered border controls. By this, it will give an opportunity for the farmers and traders to sell, deliver the said vegetables to their respective drop-off areas. The Government will provide easy access truckloads to use from Mantalongon to Cebu City vice versa in order to transport the vegetables and this will be at ease to our farmers and traders.
Mantalongon Public Market is the drop-off point for all the vegetables in different towns in the Municipality of Dalaguete. This is where transactions, competitions, trading conducted. I would recommend that the market itself has its particular cold storage to keep the vegetables fresh and preserved and by that, it will lessen the chance for the vegetables to be rotten or wasted.
I conclude that having an oversupply of vegetables was not mainly caused by the pandemic but it was through rain spread production wherein farmers are cultivating and planting at the same time and on harvesting, the outcome will be an excess of cabbages and there is a decrease of demand.
I do hope if you have time please let's visit Mantalongon. There, you will hear their stories and they will feel appreciated when people show unity on how to help them. Let's bear in our minds that FARMERSis our SUPERHEROES without them, we cannot consume the food supplies. Every piece of vegetable was worked hard and earned by our farmers. I am glad to see in the news that there were good people who are now engaging themselves to extend their help to our great farmers and this simple post of mine can be a bridge to connect everybody and start realizing that our PROBLEMS in life is too far from the others. Instead of drowning yourself with hopelessness, try to think of these people. How they remain to SMILE despite hardships in life.