Bulacan farmers celebrate bountiful harvest

One hundred and eighteen (118) farmers from San Jose Del Monte City, Bulacan capped off their 12-week training under SM Foundation’s Kabalikat sa Kabuhayan Farmers’ Training Program with a harvest festival on May 28.

SM Foundation’s sustainable agriculture program strengthens farmers’ knowledge in backyard farming

With an estimated population of 454,553 in San Jose Del Monte City, Bulacan is home to SM Foundation’s 89th batch of KSK farmer-graduates trained in and sustainable backyard agriculture in high-value crops since it started in 2007.

The farmers were trained on different methods and technologies for effective backyard farming by SM Foundation’s program partner, Harbest Agribusiness Corporation. Around 20 to 30 varieties of fruits and vegetables were grown by the participants in their 5,000 sqm demo farm. Crops were chosen in consideration of Bulacan’s topography and type of soil. At most, crops used during the training include bitter gourd; bottle gourd (upo); cucumber; eggplant; finger chili (siling pangsigang); honeydew melon; luffa (patola); lettuce; squash; tomato; and Diana, yellow and green watermelon.

Training on values formation and entrepreneurship was also conducted in coordination with the Department of Social Welfare and Development for the farmers.

Additionally, the farmers are also taught on how to properly market surplus crops for their family’s added income. To aid participants who are interested in pursuing farming as a livelihood, SM Foundation also holds a Buyer’s Forum during each batch’s harvest festival. This gives them a chance to interact with SM Food Group representatives and its suppliers who share advice on how to market their produce in high-end markets and serves as a venue to create market linkages. At present, some of the previous KSK graduates are already supplying fresh produce through SM Food Group’s wholesalers.

To date, SM Foundation has already trained more than 11,000 farmer-trainees nationwide.