Jesus Cortes now has a more compelling reason to expand his container vegetable garden.
After winning the prize money of around P26,000, Cortes is now keen in growing a bigger garden at his house.
He was one of the winners of the Cebu provincial government’s SugBusog (Sugbuanong Busog, Luwas ug Himsog), a food security program initiated by the Capitol because of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) crisis.
Cortes personally received his award from Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia recently.
Aside from winning a total of P18,000 from topping the municipal, district, and provincial levels of the competition, Cortes will receive another P8,000 which was pledged by Cebu 6th District Rep. Emmarie Ouano-Dizon.
Dizon also raised the prize money for the other two winners in her district.
Cortes used only 100 square meters of gardening space in his home in Purok 4, Barangay Canduman in Mandaue City.
He lost his job as a tricycle driver after the community quarantine in March as a government response to contain the COVID-19 pandemic and decided to plant vegetables using the free SugBusog seeds provided by the Provincial Agriculturist’s Office led by Dr. Roldan Saragena.
Cortes looked at the pandemic as a portal which opened an opportunity for him to consider farming despite the lack of experience and expertise.
He was able to put food on the table amid the health crisis and sell 50 containers of Chinese kangkong and pechay.
His place is now a tourist attraction because of the attractive quality of the produce.
“I use organic fertilizer.”
“I use organic fertilizer,” the urban farmer said. “I am not using harsh fertilizers.”
Garcia, meanwhile, stressed that the SugBusog program offers hope.
“We need to work to survive despite this crisis.”
“We need to work to survive despite this crisis,” the lady governor stressed. “Life is still beautiful despite the challenges. There is hope that we will recover despite these trials. That’s the reason why the SugBusog came into being.”
A brainchild of Garcia, SugBusog is a program created to provide hope to the Cebuanos and encourage their productivity and creativity amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
After four months, the free seeds given to each participant all over the province have now borne fruit bringing fresh and clean vegetables on the tables of Cebuanos and more income as they are able to sell their extra harvests.