The flourishing cut flower industry has changed not just Atok’s economic landscape but also the farmers’ lifestyle.
As a customary livelihood of women, growing and selling flowers have crossed gender barriers.
Men are increasingly getting into the business, Cherry Sanos, the municipal agriculturist, said. Profitable market and less physical labor, compared to vegetable farming, are irresistible lures, she said.
“Flowers always have a market, which is in fact increasing, as shown by the expansion of farms in Atok,” she said.
Around 60 percent of the more than 100 members of Mountain Blooms, the biggest cooperative of flower growers in Atok, are male, according to its president, Apolinario Celo.
Mountain Blooms was formed in 2004 to focus on marketing the cut flower industry. It has expanded as a multipurpose cooperative to include vegetable farmers, the town’s main economic driver.