As part of SM Foundation’s support to communities in Leyte, the 2nd Farmer’s Training Program or the Kabalikat sa Kabuhayan Program was completed from June 22-23 in Sta. Elena, Tacloban City.
SAVEMORE staff tour farmer participants of the KSK in Tacloban to show the quality
of fruits & vegetables that must be met to be suppliers of the supermarket.
The 12-week- hands-on training on modern farming technologies attended by 168 farmer participants culminated with a Harvest Festival & a graduation program attended by the participants, SM Foundation officials, departments of Social Welfare and Agriculture ,local government units of the City.
Part of the training was teaching them simple book-keeping & marketing strategies to better guide them to achieve high daily income. Aside from these doable agricultural technologies, sessions on values formation, capability building & social entrepreneurship were likewise tackled during these sessions.
The farmers who participated aside from those from Sta. Elena were from nearby barangays Sto. Nino, Kabalawan, Kamansihay, Bagakay, San Roque, Salvacion, Palanog&Calanipawan. Farmers from Alang-alang which is about 40 minutes away sacrificed commuting to the site to avail of the training while 2 from Palo likewise braved the heat& expenses to commute to the demo farm.
Cristy Angeles, Program Director of the Foundation emphasized to the participants that SM is now gearing towards recovery programs gradually weaning typhoon victims from dependence on relief goods. Farmers are encouraged to apply the training most especially to those who have sufficient space for backyard farming &to those who till big agricultural farms. This enables them to attain food security & therefore be self-sufficient.
At present, there are an abundance of jobs in the construction business in the City so that 60% of the trainees were women. One of the trainees, Magdalena Oquino, 38 years old, with 4 children trained in the KSK; while her husband is a construction worker in one of the projects of USAID. She is planting sweet corn in a 1,000 sq. meter leased property. Aside from that, she plants veggies in her backyard which she shares with her extended family. She sells the harvested corn to a supplier of vegetables of SAVEMORE and happily tells us that she was able to enroll her 2nd daughter in the East Visayas State University with her earnings in time for school opening in June. She hopes to continue planting corn which is in-season then shift to other products depending on the recommendation of the City agriculturist, Vicky Collantes. Siblings Daniel & Erwin Rellona together with a sister-in-law Minerva Rellonaare tenants of a 6-hectare property of a family who has allowed them to use the land after the devastation of their coconut plantation. Recovery of the coconut may take years so they are doing corn planting & vegetable & fruit-farming until the coconut trees are fully recovered. They together with other farmers have formed an association so that they can deliver vegetables in bulk to supermarkets in Tacloban&Ormoc.
A Buyers Forum was conducted which taught them the quality & quantity of their produce versus the demand of their market, price negotiations and the actual cost of transporting produce from farm to market. A market tour in SAVEMORE gave the participants an opportunity to study the quality standards set forth of fruits & vegetables in SM stalls..
The response of the program was overwhelming especially after testimonials from farmers who had trained in the 1st KSK training program held in Tanauan last year where 180 farmers from Tanauan, Palo, Tolosa, Dulag, Babatngon& even Barugo which is about an hour away from the site participated in the program. Three property owners approached the Livelihood team of SM Foundation offering their farm lots as demonstration farms. Still others are donating their properties to the Foundation for this program. The team visited these farm lots for possible soil analysis prior to committing to launch another KSK program.
There have been other KSK programs in other areas affected by typhoon Yolanda: Guiuan&Balangiga both in Eastern Samar, Lambunao, Iloilo, Silay City &Toboso both in Negros Occidental, Borbon, Daanbantayan, Santa Fe, Bantayan Islands all in Cebu & Kalibo Aklan.
So far, this is the 90th KSK Training Harvest Festival & Graduation of the SM Foundation nationwide.