“Last year has been a struggle”
Delia Kalabanit (38) and her husband Alex (40) support their six children from the produce of their vegetable farm in Central Mindanao, the Philippines. Alex planted eggplant, okra, cabbage, corn, cucumber, bitter gourd, moringa, lemon grass and tomatoes, but El Niño created a drought that has destroyed millions of dollars’ worth of crops, including that of this family.
"I sell my produce in the market. Last year has been a struggle. The weather has really hurt the business," says Alex. Normally, the husband and wife earn USD86 after every harvest but last season they lost most of his crop to the heat.
“I have six little mouths to feed and when food is hard to come by we really have to work hard,” says Delia. The couple is grateful that they have another source of income to provide for the family – a large fishing boat provided by World Vision. It means that the family can enjoy a meal caught fresh from their father’s boat. The family is grateful to have fish, a rich source of iron and protein, which helps them ward off malnutrition during drought.The catch feeds their family even when most of the other farmers in their village have lost their crops.
But Delia’s small children need more than fish.
Fresh fish might help the family to earn income and keep hunger at bay for Delia’s older children, but her younger children need breast milk and nutrients found in other food. Another of World Vision's programmes, the Pinoy Nutrition Hub, encourages mothers to breast-feed and helps inform them of the other kinds of food that their children need. The Hub also provides supplements so that infants and small children are protected from the worst effects of the hunger that El Niño has left in its wake.