Addressing the challenge of providing a healthy and sustainable food source for communities, SM Foundation Incorporated in partnership with Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) continue to work together in training farmers from both urban and rural areas in the country to improve and evolve its sustainable agriculture program Kabalikat sa Kabuhayan (KSK) Farmers’ Training.
KSK aims to provide hands-on and season-long training on high value crops for small-scale farmers for them to produce better quality and higher yielding fruits and vegetables, increase their food production and improve livelihood opportunities for their families. It also aims to help promote food security as well as provide an extra form of livelihood for the participants but targets the marginalized sector in the urban setting.
The project will also link ordinary farmers with large-scale farmers to create a knowledge sharing network on agribusinesses and will serve as a platform for showcasing and marketing farmers’ products to attract potential markets.
With TESDA, St Isidore the Farmer Learning Center and SM Foundation partner in its KSK programs, conducted the training, the project was envisioned to help teach the participants the concept of smart farming using the limited spaces or backyards of their households. The end objective was to bring nutritious food to every table of its participants.
In Pampanga, SM Foundation farmers successfully finished their training course held in various areas of Talete king Panyulung Kapampangan Inc (TPKI) Nature Farm in Barangay Malpitik in the City of San Fernando, Barangay Calibutbut in Bacolor, Barangay Floridablanca, St Isidore The Farmer Leaning Center in Sta Ana, Barangay Bitas in Arayat and Pansinao Candaba all in a short distance from SM City Pampanga. The 12-week program taught the participants how to utilize space for backyard farming by using recycled containers as planting pots which can easily be replicated in their own backyards.
Crops that were grown during the training included lowland and upland vegetables and fruits such as bitter gourd, eggplant, green beans, lettuce, okra, radish, squash, sweet potato, tomato, watermelons and melons, to name a few.
A total of 175 individuals from Pampanga completed and graduated the training early this year and more are expected to finish as SM Foundation continues to conduct regular KSK trainings, effectively rolling out 17 trainings nationwide.
Aside from agriculture training conducted by TESDA and St Isidore The Farmer Learning Center, SM Foundation also partners with the Department of Social Welfare and Development which conducts values formation and entrepreneurship trainings for the farmer-participants, Department of Agriculture (DA), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and Department of Tourism (DOT).
In a steady phase, SM Foundation continues to strengthen its initiatives to support its goal of enabling people to attain food security in the various communities it serves.