Farmers in Barangay Sirao, Cebu City, blame the high cost of farming and the uncooperative weather for fewer flowers in this year’s All Souls’ Day and All Saints’ Day celebrations.
WHAT used to be wide, crisscrossing fields of colorful flowers are now reduced to small patches of produce in the mountain barangays of Cebu City.
Unlike in the previous years, the flower farms of Barangay Sirao are producing less blooms to be used as offerings in graves for this year’s All Saints’ and Souls’ Days.
Melyn Labrado, 42, said among the biggest reasons why a lot of flower farmers like them decided to decrease their flower fields or not plant altogether was the expenses needed to do so.
She said they would need at least P20,000 to fertilize a 100-meter field, and many farmers could not afford the cost. So instead of planting up to 200 meters of gladiolus flowers and chrysanthemums, Labrado said they only planted 60 meters of only three varieties of gladiolus flowers.
She said they started harvesting their gladiolus flowers, which come in red, pink and white, last October 26, and would harvest the rest tomorrow, October 31.
Right now, a dozen pieces of these flowers cost between P150 to P170. These are bought by middlemen who sell them at a markup at Freedom Park in downtown Cebu City. Last year, these flowers only cost from P80 to P120 per bundle.
“Dili lang ako. Hasta akong mga silingan ug mga paryente nga akong ma estorya moingon nga daghan g’yud wala nananom karon og mga buwak ,” Labrado said.
(It’s not just me. A lot of my neighbors and my relatives whom I talk to said that there are a lot of flower farmers who didn’t plant this year.)
Labrado noted that even if they earned more during the All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day celebrations, their earnings would dramatically drop after November 1.
After this period, the price of a dozen gladiolus flowers could go as low as P40 to P50. And these have to be personally brought by them to Freedom Park, she said.
Flower vendor Larry Pureza, 48, affirmed they would only make an effort to buy flowers in bulk from Barangay Sirao during this season.
CDN chanced upon him helping harvest some yellow Taiwan chrysanthemums in the flower fields of the relatives of his wife in Sitio Tawagan 2, Barangay Sirao on Sunday.
They were only harvesting in a small patch yesterday. Last year, this same area had long fields of colorful flowers.
“Mailhan g’yud nimo nga gamay ra karon. Kay sauna, daghan kaayo ni diri (You can really see that there are lesser flowers now. Before, this area was filled with a lots of flowers),” he said.
He bought the chrysanthemums at P40 per dozen and had to load it in a motorcycle from the farm to the open area of the sitio where a multicab was waiting to deliver it to Freedom Park.
He also affirmed that flower farming cost was just too high and farmers could no longer afford to plant as much as they wanted. It also did not help that incessant rains killed a lot of their flower seedlings, he added.
However, several flower stalls along the road in Barangays Busay, Malubog and Sirao could still be spotted when CDN passed by these areas on Sunday.
A farmer of Barangay Sirao harvests blooms to be sold in time for the All Souls’ Day and All Saints’ Day celebrations.