By: Ellaine Kryss Hubilla
The COVID-19 crisis has brought about a plight farmers from all around the world face today. Tons of vegetables went to waste due to the limited transportation opportunities available to bring produce from farms to sellers and consumers. The local farmers of Brgy. Batitang Zaragoza in Nueva Ecija were not spared from this hardship.
In a Facebook post, Mylene de Leon, a vegetable farmer’s daughter from Nueva Ecija, shared that local farmers of their barangay were looking for buyers of squash. These farmers have been battling the impact of the COVID-19 crisis for more than a month. It has affected their livelihood and daily lives already. Tons of squash sit in their barangay waiting for customers who are interested.
Fortunately, Efren Nieves, the Mayor of Zaragoza Nueva Ecija, brought 2000 kilograms of squash from every farmer in the said barangay. However, due to limited financial resources, he cannot buy all the products. This is the reason why there were still tons of squash in Brgy. Batitang Zaragoza. The vegetables brought by the Local Government Unit (LGU) were distributed for free to its constituents and people who pass by their municipality.
According to De Leon, large enterprises tend to buy squash that retails at P2 to P3 per kilo, which is not enough for farmers to recover their investments. For some farmers who do not have their own land, squash retails at P4 to P5. However, these prices only benefit the landowner, and farmers themselves are left with nothing. Due to these issues, they are hoping for buyers to add even a small amount when buying their harvest, or at least P8 per kilo, to compensate for their hard work.
Those who are interested to buy squash can contact the local government unit of Brgy. Batitang Zaragoza Nueva Ecija at 09301779736, or contact Tomas A. De Leon, one of the farmers from the said barangay, at 09304524734.
There are also other vegetables available at a fair price such as okra, green chili, bitter gourd, silk squash, and string beans.