As part of SM Foundation’s support to the communities of Bulacan, the 3rd Agri-Crops Production Training Program or Kabalikat Sa Kabuhayn (KSK) was recently launched at Villar Sipag Farm in San Jose del Monte City.
(In Photo: Some of the participants of Kabalikat Sa Kabuhayan Program in San Jose del Monte with Senator Cynthia Villar, SJDM Vice Mayor Efren Bartolome Jr., SJDM Councilor Jose J. Abella, SM Head of Corporate Affairs Strategic Oversight SM Foundation Inc. Ramon Gil Macapagal, Vice President of HarBest Agribusiness Corporation, SM City San Jose del Monte Mall Manager Arch Erlinda Estrella, SM Savemore and SM Foundation staffs after the planting demo.)
The Kabalikat Sa Kabuhayan Rural Farmer’s Training Program which started in August 2007, caters to small-scale farmers. It is a 12 week season-long lecture and hands-on technological training on the production of high value crops, starting from land preparation, seed selection, organic fertilization up to harvest and market linkages.
The training program, in cooperation with the City Government of San Jose del Monte, Harbest Agribusiness Corporation – the training provider, Department of Agriculture, Department of Social Welfare and Development, and SM City San Jose del Monte, is in line with SM Foundation’s advocacy of promoting sustainable agriculture by teaching marginalized families how to produce high-value and safe fruits and vegetables as well as how to manage an edible family farm.
Gracing the event was Senator Cynthia Villar, the Chairperson of Senate Committee on Agriculture and Food. According to her, the program is not about earning money, it is an advocacy and it is about helping people to overcome poverty.
The senator stressed the study of Philippine Institute for Development Studies that one of the causes of non-competitiveness of our farmers is lack of mechanization. “So we are solving the root of the problem, which is the lack of technology, lack of mechanization, lack of financial literacy, and lack of ability to access social credit. It is not our decision not to mechanize, it is the decision of the market.”Senator Villar added.
During the training program, the farmers will also learn the business and management side of farming. “You are not supposed to remain farmers, you should at least be a small scale businessmen and women”. Villar said to farmers during her inspirational speech. “We should also teach the children of farmers how to farm, because it is the small family farms which will feed us in the next generation and not the corporate farms.”
Lastly, Senador Cynthia Villar expressed her gratitude for being one of the partners of SM Foundation as she aims to bridge the gap that would enable Filipino farmers and agriculture industry players to be more competitive and successful.
Last year, SM Foundation conducted trainings to 2,638 farmers. To date, it has conducted 124 trainings in 619 cities and municipalities, 2326 barangays, benefiting 15,388 farmers and an average of 76,940 family members.