SM Foundation brings farmers’ training program to Kalibo, Aklan

At the 5,000 sqm KSK demo farm in Barangay Estancia, Kalibo Aklan, 145 farmers received vegetable seedlings from SM Foundation Assistant Vice President Cristie Angeles and Harbest Agribusiness Corporation President Arsenio Barcelona. Also in the photo are representatives from the Department of Social Welfare and Development, the Department of Agriculture and local government units.

SM Foundation welcomed 145 farmers to its 79th Kabalikat sa Kabuhayan (KSK) Farmers’ Training Program in Barangay Estancia, Kalibo, Aklan. Participants are composed of farmers and Pantawid Pamilya beneficiaries from 11 municipalities in Aklan.

The training program is scheduled to run once a week until December. For 12 weeks, farmers will receive lectures and hands-on training on land preparation, seedling selection and propagation, effective microorganism, trellis installation, pruning, pest control and harvesting. At the end of the program, the farmer-scholars will have a Harvest Festival where they can showcase their crops and a Buyers’ Forum where farmers are given the chance to meet and interact with SM Food Group Buyers.

The KSK Farmers’ Training was established by the SM Foundation in 2007 to empower marginalized farmers by equipping them with the knowledge on doable agricultural technology to produce high-value crops such as vegetables and fruits. To date, the KSK has benefitted over 7,000 farmers by helping create a more sustainable livelihood for themselves, their families and their communities.

The KSK Farmers’ Training Program is in collaboration with Harbest Agribusiness Corporation, the Department of Social Welfare and Development, the Department of Agriculture and local government units.

Aside from its regular projects, the SM Foundation also carries out its advocacies in other Yolanda (international name: Haiyan)-stricken areas. This year, a total of 10 KSK farmer trainings are conducted in Aklan, Cebu, Iloilo, Negros Occidental and Samar. SM Foundation has also recently finished renovating and rehabilitating the Tacloban City Hospital as well as the Tabontabon Rural Health Center Annex in Leyte and plans to build five more rural health centers before the year ends. Along with this, the SM Foundation has already conducted 12 medical missions in areas struck by Yolanda with three more still slated in October. SM Foundation is also constructing two 2-storey, 10-classroom school buildings in Hernani, Eastern Samar with eight other school buildings scheduled to be built in Cebu, Leyte, Iloilo, Aklan, Capiz and Cadiz for a total of 56 classrooms. Finally, under its SM Cares division, the SM Foundation targets to construct 1,000 disaster-resilient houses in Visayas for those whose homes were destroyed by Typhoon Yolanda.