Olongapo City—Around 120 farmer-graduates in Olongapo under the SM Foundation’s Kabalikat sa Kabuhayan (KSK) Farmers’ Training Program Batch 200 recently expressed their gratitude to the Foundation and its partners here.
The graduates thanked SM for teaching them innovative farming methods they can use in ensuring food for their table, which they can also share with their community and will open doors for potential business opportunities.
Conducted at the SM City Olongapo, the graduation ceremony of the trainees was witnessed by representatives from the Department of Social Welfare and Development, Department of Agriculture, Technical Education for Skills and Development Authority, City Agriculture Office, and partner Harbest Agribusiness.
Prior to their graduation, farmer-participants harvested their high value vegetable and fruit crops, some of which were cooked for their boodle fight lunch, while some were brought home to their respective families. Their produce included honeydew melon, upo, patola, tomatoes, sili, okra, pipino, ampalaya, sitaw, and kangkong, among others.
They were also toured around the supermarket in SM City Olongapo to better know and appreciate the pricing and quality standards of products on the ground.
With the sustainable farming techniques instilled in them, the Foundation hopes and encourages the farmers to continue to use this knowledge to produce high quality harvest not only for their families, but also to become suppliers for SM Markets in the future.
Rogelio Panganiban, a heavy equipment operator, said he learned various ways to farm optimally which he would proudly share with his family and community.
Esmeralda Tombaga, a 55-year-old master teacher, vowed to share her learnings from the program to her fellow schoolteachers, with the hopes that the knowledge can be further passed to the students. She also mentioned she can use these innovative farming techniques in the school vegetable garden where she teaches. Butch Gunio
Federico Flores, 68, conveyed his gratitude to the late “Tatang” Henry Sy, Sr., who began all the philanthropic works of the SM Group, including his legacy of helping those in need. He said that he would spread the word that one can farm by just using natural techniques and without the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides.
Since its inception in 2007, the KSK Farmers’ Training Program has trained more than 23,000 farmers and continues to accommodate more both from urban and rural communities.