Farming was farthest from Engr. Lemie Leonida’s mind back in 2009 when she retired from teaching Math for 21 years. After Typhoon Yolanda (international name: Haiyan) swept away her husband’s sand and gravel business in Iloilo in 2013, Lemie looked into taking up agriculture as a way to help restart their livelihood.
To get back on her feet, Lemie joined SM Foundation’s Kabalikat sa Kabuhayan (KSK) Farmers’ Training Program. Under KSK, she and her fellow trainees were taught new and doable farming methods as well as basic skills in entrepreneurship and marketing. After the training, Lemie and her other co-graduates formed the cooperative KSK Lambunao Organic Vegetable Growers Association (KSK LaOVeGA) in 2014 which she now serves as President. As a way to give back, the group also established a training center to help train interested residents in the area.
Lemie produces an average of 500 kilos of papaya a week for their clients, including the SM Food Group. In a month, she is able to sell an average of 2,000 kilos of papayas, earning PHP 50,000.
“The KSK program has helped me augment the financial needs of my family. More than that, I can see its potential because people want to live longer and supplying fruits and vegetables to contribute to this growing lifestyle,” she said.