Forward thinking farmers: How two farmers embraced modern techniques

SM-Foundation-NGO-Philippines-KSK-Farmer_Juanito-Jayson-Pampanga2Jayson and Juanito proudly showcase a selection of produce at the SM City Clark’s Weekend Market.

While modern agricultural techniques boost yields for some, there remains a number of Filipino farmers who struggle to keep pace. These experienced hands find themselves falling behind in a market demanding higher production, clinging to familiar yet often inefficient methods passed down through generations.

One farmer from Pampanga, Jayson Garcia, sought to disrupt this prevailing narrative in his family. He knew that he had to chart a new course forward for his farm and innovate to remain competitive within the rapidly evolving landscape of modern agriculture.

“Noon, mahirap ang magtanim,” he recalled their life before joining SM Foundation’s Kabalikat sa Kabuhayan. “Ang kinagisnan ko noon ay sinaunang pagtatanim–basta pag itinanim mo ‘yan, hintayin mo na lang mamunga.” 

“Para bang tsambahan lang din noon; minsan pag maganda ang ani, may kita. Minsan, halos wala. Hindi ko rin alam dati ang mga bagay patungkol sa pagpili ng buto, paghahanda at timing sa pagtatanim, o tamang panahon ng paglalagay ng pataba. Mas mahirap pa lalo kapag nagkaroon kalamidad,” he said.

When Garcia learned that the SM Foundation was conducting a training program focused on high-value crop cultivation, he knew this was the breakthrough he needed to revitalize his farming techniques. 

SM-Foundation-NGO-Philippines-KSK-Farmer_Jayson-PampangaJayson attends the SM City Clark’s Weekend Market to observe best practices and gain insights into new agricultural techniques.

During the training, Garcia learned a range of farming techniques. These included selecting the best seeds and caring for them, as well as strategic planting schedules. He was also introduced to innovative methods for utilizing the space in his rice fields, allowing him to cultivate a diverse range of vegetables and fruits.

Aside from farming strategies, the Pampanga-based farmer also said that he gained invaluable lessons in business and marketing from his time at KSK. He highlighted that he has since discovered alternative sales channels that have enabled him to enhance his earning potential while extending fair prices to his customers.

“Bago ako sumali sa KSK, kinukuha lang sa bahay ng mga traders at ng ibang mamimili ang mga produkto namin. Pero natuto na ako na pwede palang ako mismo ang magtinda at magdistribute. Nagagawa ko na rin ang pagtitinda online,” he proudly shared.

Equipped with knowledge, he shared that he had more confidence to expand his farm after the KSK training. He also increased his monthly income to more than 25,000 pesos.

“Ang main crop namin noon ay palay. Hindi ko lubos maisip na pwede rin palang magdagdag ng mapagkakakitaan na pananim na prutas at gulay,” he smiled.

Aside from directly selling his harvests, he is now planting a variety of vegetables on his farm, including lemongrass, malunggay, and madre de cacao, which he sells online to small businesses that processes the produce into other products. 

As a leader in a farmer’s group in their city, KSK has further opened his interest in attending other seminars that will introduce him to more good agricultural practices, which he actively shares with his fellow farmers in Pampanga.

Embracing new techniques

KSK Clark Pampanga-19
Juanito, alongside his wife, actively participates in the SM City Clark Weekend Market. They credit the market with contributing to their increased profitability.

Sharing the same story of hope is another KSK farmer from Pampanga, Juanito Dela Cruz. 

Despite his age, he actively pursued and adopted modern farming techniques.

Building on his current success, he shared the importance of adaptability for farmers, calling for others to try and explore new practices. 

From a modest monthly income of 10,000 pesos, Juanito experienced an upsurge in his earnings, notably through participation in the Weekend Market at SM City Clark, yielding around 30,000 pesos weekly.

“Kung ano ang naipasa sa akin na paraan ng pagsasaka, ‘yun lang ang ginagawa ko noon. Pero alam kong hindi ‘yun sapat, lalo na sa panahon ngayon. Kailangan maging bukas tayo sa makabagong pamamaraan ng pagsasaka para makahabol tayo sa demands ng panahon ngayon—ito ang itinuo sa akin ng KSK,” he said. 

SM Foundation's KSK program has changed the lives of roughly 30,000 Filipino farmers, including Jayson and Juanito. Through its initiatives, farmers who once lost hope have been able to embrace modern farming techniques, leading to adaptability in the face of the evolving agricultural landscape.