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Cebu City Farmer Gives Out 20K Kilos Of El Niño-Affected Tomatoes

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Cebu City Farmer Gives Out 20K Kilos Of El Niño-Affected Tomatoes

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An upland farmer gave out about 20,000 kilograms of tomatoes to people who visited his farm on Monday.

Emilio Secretaria, whose farmland has been affected by the drought, said he was opening his farm to the people to come and harvest the tomatoes he believed would not make it to the markets.

“My purpose why I am giving the tomatoes for free is to prevent them from rotting. I don’t want to make these tomatoes useless. The people can come and harvest by themselves,” Secretaria said in Cebuano in his video posted on social media.

He blamed the lack of water brought about by the El Niño phenomenon that took a toll on his crops.

Sizes of the tomatoes were greatly affected because of the drought.

He clarified that even during the normal harvest season before the El Niño, he was fond of giving out tomatoes for free to those in need.

Councilor Pastor Alcover Jr., chair of the committee on agriculture of the Cebu City Council, said the city government was assessing the impact of El Niño on the farmlands in the hinterland.

In March, the city government declared 28 mountain barangays under a state of calamity after reports of dwindling water sources and agricultural distress affecting upland communities in the city.

The City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office record shows that 506 farmers tilling 155 hectares of agricultural land in the 28 upland villages need urgent intervention.

A total of PHP600 million in response funds and PHP100 million in its local disaster risk reduction and management fund are readied to assist distressed upland farmers. (PNA)