Philippine growers weathered the pandemic through farming

Since the COVID-19 pandemic started in early 2020, many Filipinos needed to cope with displacement since health protocols dictated that non-essential workers, along with the general public, needed to stay indoors for their safety. It was during this time that farming and urban gardening became popular among the masses, who found the practice of growing food in their homes or extra spaces to be productive and fulfilling. 

As more Filipinos ventured into farming, they realized that it provides more than a source of fresh, healthy food because it can also be profitable. In 2021, Agriculture Online encountered several Filipinos who turned to farming to weather the pandemic. Hailing from Lucena City, Quezon Province, the Pagkaliwagan family, composed of Jaquilyn, a former OFW in Taiwan, and her husband, Ronniel, who worked as technical support personnel in a factory, had to find an alternative source of income to make ends meet after the pandemic affected their livelihood. 

Seeing the opportunities and potential market for vegetables, they decided to venture into hydroponics farming last March 2020. They began by building a greenhouse in their backyard for food production but only recently turned their vision into reality. They called their farm Nawawalang Bukid because aside from being distant from the town’s center, many of their customers often get lost when visiting the greenhouse.

Nawawalang Bukid’s main crop is lettuce, but they also grow other produce such as sweet basil, pechay, and strawberry using hydroponics. After seeing their profits from farming, the couple plan to add more greenhouses and open an on-site samgyupsal restaurant where they can serve their fresh leafy vegetables to customers.

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