Batch 150 of SM Foundation’s KabalikatsaKabuhayan Farmers’ Training Program successfully completed their training in Barangay Arumahan, Lemery, Batangas.
This batch of 176 farmers and Pantawid ng Pamilyang Pilipino Program beneficiaries came from various barangays of different municipalities—Sariaya (Quezon), San Pedro (Laguna), Lipa City (Batangas), Agoncillo (Batangas), Calaca (Batangas), Nasugbu (Batangas) and Semirara (Antique). Originally, there were only 150 registrants to the program. However, more farmers came to participate after learning about the program from previous graduates. At the harvest festival held prior to the graduation, the trainees happily harvested their produce: sili, kangkong, eggplant, okra, stringbeans, zucchini, watermelon, cucumber, amplaya, squash, upo, patola, raddish, mustasa, lettuce and honeydew.
The 12 week, season-long technical and hands-on training on fruits and vegetables high value crops normally has an average of 100-120 participants per site but the number has gradually been increasing. According to Cristie Angeles, AVP for Livelihood Programs of SM Foundation, the KSK Program in Lanao had a record of 300 participants It has developed more than 15,000 small farmers into self-sufficient families, earning their living from the vegetables and fruits produce. Several of them have tied up with suppliers of SM to supply the bulk needs of SM Supermarkets while majority earn from the local markets they serve. The program is envisioned to empower small farmers and marginalized families.
Among the program partners of SM Foundation in this endeavor are Harbest Agribusiness Corporation, MacPlas Academy, the Department of Social Welfare and Development, Department of Agriculture, and the local government units concerned.
Since it was launched in 2007, more than 15,300 farmers have benefitted from the program. It has also evolved into a two-pronged program comprised of “KSK Rural Farming on Sustainable Agriculture”, and the “KSK Urban Farming for Food Security”.