DINALUPIHAN, Bataan – Mayor Maria Angela “Gila” Garcia on Thursday said she allotted P2 million as seed money for 20 farmers associations in the said municipality or P100 thousand per farmers association.
The good news was announced by Garcia during the program in Barangay Payangan of Batch 157 of SM Foundation’s “Kabalikat sa Kabuhayan Rural Farmers’ Harvest Festival” where more than 200 farmers from various villages here serve as trainees and beneficiaries.
Mayor Garcia told newsmen here that this is the first of its kind program for the farmers in Bataan in line with Dinalupihan LGU’s Vision to be the “Model Agropolis in Central Luzon.”
Cristy Angeles, AVP for livelihood and outreach program, said the SM Foundation continues its pursuit of training farmers and even non-farmers on growing high-value vegetables and other crops.
The training was under the auspices of SM Foundation’s “Kabalikat sa Kabuhayan Farmers Training Program” in collaboration with Harbest Agribusiness, the Department of Social Welfare and Development, Department of Trade and Industry, the municipal government of Dinalupihan, the Department of Agriculture, SM Malls, BDO Foundation, and One Network Bank (rural bank of BDO).
From its first batch in Bacolod City several years back, it continues to sponsor the training of people in 30 locations nationwide annually in producing vegetables for their own consumption as well as for sale to as popular supermarkets such as SM SaveMore, SM Hypermarket and SM Supermarket not just an alternative but a major source of income to farmers using new technologies in farming provided by Harbest Agritech Services.
“We taught them to use hybrid and open pollinated varieties where they planted 20 types of crops,” Arsenio Barcelona of Harbest told the Bataan press.
The vegetables that they grew in the 5,000 square meter ancestral domain of three Aeta tribes here served as demo farm included eggplant, okra, watermelon and several other vegetable species.
“In the end po ang gusto po natin ang output po at hindi lang magandang ani. Ang ouput po at maging sustainable po ito para magkaroon ng sustainable income ang ating mga magsasaka,” Mayor Gila Garcia said.
It is hoped that when they go back to their homes, they will be able to produce the crops not only for their own consumption but also for sale in the market.
“Malaki tulong po ito sa ating mga kapatid na katribo dito po sa mga upland barangays ng aming bayan,” Councilor Joel Abraham, indigenous people representative (IPR) of the Sangguniang Bayan told this reporter.