A total of 122 farmers graduated in the Kabalikat sa Kabuhayan (KSK) Farmers Training Program of SM Foundation Inc. (SMFI) at SM City Tarlac last November 29, 2018.
KSK Farmers Training Program is a 12-week hands-on technology training on high value crops, fruits and vegetables as well as rural and urban farming. It was jointly launched with Harbest Agribusiness Corporation and the Department of Agriculture in cooperation with LGU, MAO and MSWD in Paniqui, Tarlac on August 8, 2018.
“We are thankful to SM for funding and initiating this program and that the farmers and 4P’s farmers of Paniqui are the chosen beneficiary”, said Paniqui Municipal Agriculturist George Payumo.
This season-long, technical training produced 121 graduates which include farmers and 4 P’s farmers. The participants underwent a comprehensive course in production of high-value crops with lectures and activities to experience the actual challenges of farming. They were divided into groups consisting of members from different barangays and each group was assigned to certain crops.
The sessions included Land & Seedling Preparation; Composting & Fertilizer Preparation; Transplanting, Farm Management; Trellising, Control of Pests and Plant Diseases; Crop Maturity; Proper Harvesting; Values Formation-Capacity Building (c/o DSWD); Financial Literacy in cooperation with BDO; and Sustainability Forum/Workshop, which aims to help participants in learning more important guidelines in program cropping, production planning, goal setting, marketing and sustainability. All inputs were used as a tool in preparing the farmer group’s sustainability plan towards the end of the course.
Since the first graduation of the KSK Program at SM City-Bacolod in February 2007, KSK has evolved into one of the pillars of the SMFI’s CSR Programs. Since 2007, the KSK Program has graduated more than 19,000 small farmers, agribusiness entrepreneurs, and agriculturists from the Local Government Units (LGU). The program has covered 155 sites all over the country where SM stores are located. It is SM’s way of giving back to the communities it serves. It has developed more than 5,000 small farmers into self-sufficient families, earning their living from the vegetables and the fruits they produce from their lands. Several of them have indirectly become regular suppliers of SM while majority earn from the local markets they serve.
Just like what Henry Sy has thought of, KSK is mainly a sustainable project that will uplift the living standards of small Filipino farmers. Its main objective is to create capacity building & market linkages in the hope of replicating and promoting food security and sustainable livelihood opportunities to the marginalized families and small-scale farmers in the community. The KSK is envisioned to continue its empowerment of small farmers in the years to come.