Romeo Cordova is up by 4:00 a.m., ready for a full day. Like any farmer, he works for hours tending to his crops and tilling his land. He and eight other farmers grow organic crops like lettuce, eggplant, okra, squash, tomato and string beans. Most days, he works 16 hours, with just a few breaks.

Romy, as his friends call him, has been a farmer most of his life. He now owns St. Isidore the Farmer Learning Center in Pampanga, where he helps others earn a living from farming.

Earning a living from farming has been increasingly difficult these past few months. With the spread of COVID-19 in many areas around the country and the imposition of prohibitive quarantine measures, bringing his produce to market has become very challenging.

“Noong nagsabi na may quarantine na, hindi namin alam kung saan kami bibili ng mga binhi at iba pang gamit dito sa bukid para maipagpatuloy ang pagsasaka at pag-aani. Hindi rin kami makapunta sa mga palengke kaya maraming magsasaka ang walang kita kahit na mataas ang demand sa gulay,” Romy said.

(When the quarantine was imposed, we didn’t know how to get seeds and other supplies to the farm. We also didn’t have access to the market. Farmers were losing money even if the demand for our products remained high.)

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