81st Kabalikat sa Kabuhayan Farmers Training Program launched in Pampanga
The 81st batch of Kabalikat sa Kabuhayan Farmers Training Program (KSK-FTP) launched in Barangay San Agustin, Betis, Guagua, Pampanga last January 16, 2015 attracted 200 small scale farmers from neighboring barangays and municipalities including residents of Villa Santiago, a village built by the Rotary Club of Loyola Heights for marginalized families. Seventy-two (72) families residing in the said village are also Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program beneficiaries.
Aside from Ms. Cristie Angeles of SM Foundation and Mr. Toto Barcelona of Harbest, also present were: Mayor Dante Torres of Guagua, Pampanga; Ms. Lilia Ediza, Senior Project Development Officer, DSWD – Region III; Arch. Paul Angel Galang, President, Rotary Club of Loyola Heights; Engr. Bong David, Project Chairperson, Rotary Club of Loyola Heights; Mr. Kenneth San Diego, Store Manager, Savemore Guagua; and Ms. Lana Erroba, Mall Manager, SM San Fernando Downtown.
A ceremonial turnover and transplanting was undertaken, culminating with a testimonial of Nestor Garcia, a graduate of the 2008 KSK training program in Sta. Rita, Pampanga and president of the Lambak Vegetable Growers Association. Garcia organized the association upon graduating from the program, set up a communal farm together with his fellow graduates and applied what they learned. A few months after the group organization, they were able to supply vegetables to Kenny Rogers, a famous restaurant chain in the country and the suppliers to different public markets in Region III. Garcia was awarded Outstanding Agrarian Reform beneficiary – National Level for his initiative to promote organic vegetable farming.
He said, “Hindi tayo dapat basta natuto lang. Dapat tayo magsipag at gamitin ang ating natutunan. Gawin nating inspirasyon ang ating pamilya, ang ating mga anak, para maging masipag sa buhay. Sa pagsasaka, hindi mo lang sila mapapakain ng tanim mo na masustansya,mapapagtapos mo pa sila ng pag-aaral.”
Garcia boasts of being able to send his children to college through vegetable farming. With the Department of Agriculture, Garcia continues to attend agricultural technology trainings in order to learn and improve his skills. He shares what he learns through lectures and demonstrations to small-scale farmers from different municipalities in the region. He said he is proud that SM Foundation’s KSK-FTP made it possible for him to achieve his dream for his children and improve the life of his family.