SM empowering Toboso farmers

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Friday, July 18, 2014


SM FOUNDATION Inc. (SMFI) launched on Thursday the Kabalikat sa Kabuhayan Farmers’ Training (KSK-FT) Program in Toboso, Negros Occidental to provide farmers with advanced skills and more effective ways of producing high yield of vegetables and high-value crops.

Under the program, a total of 190 farmers from Sitio Mascuvado in Brgy. Poblacion will be trained for three months on organic farming with the use of new technology to ensure higher produce.

The KSK-FT is a program much like backyard farming but it is enhanced by new technology to produce better results. It is a 12-step program that teaches farmers seed culture and propagation, irrigation and fertilizer application, among other skills.

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The KSK-FT is a joint undertaking of SMFI with the private sector and government agencies.

Leading the launch were SMFI assistant vice president for Livelihood and Outreach Cristie Angeles, Gov. Alfredo Marañon Jr., Toboso Mayor Richard Jaojoco, and officials of partner agencies and organizations.

The officials of partner agencies were Harbest Agribusiness Corp. president Arsenio Barcelona, SM City Bacolod assistant manager Julia Javellana, SM Bacolod Supermarket manager Rommel Escasa, SM Savemore manager Lulu Llacuna,
DSWD provincial coordinator Fernando Alabado, 303rd Infantry Brigade commander Col. Jon Aying and field instructor Davien Pati-on.

The present batch is already the 73rd batch in Toboso to be trained in this program.

Angeles said SM malls will market the produce of the farmers.

She said there are vast lands that remain idle and through the program, farmers can make this land productive.

Jaojoco said as their counterpart, the Toboso municipal government provided 2 hectares of land for the KSK-FT program. The land is located in Sitio Mascuvado in Barangay Poblacion.

Members of the Philippine Army, particularly the 303rd Infantry Brigade, will secure the area and help water the plants.

Angeles said the KSK-FT program is an opportunity for the farmers to learn more about farming which can help alleviate poverty in the area.

“Through this program, the farmers will be prepared to be self-reliant,” she said.

Incorporated in the training are value-formation, social preparation, entrepreneurial skills, and market linkages.

We will help them sustain the project through the help of the DSWD and SM supermarkets, she added.

For his part, Marañon urged the farmers to grab this opportunity

“With this program, you can now have sustainable source of livelihood,” he said.

Jaojoco said that are grateful to SMFI for this opportunity. “Many of our farmers really suffer during off-milling season. But with this program, such problem can be addressed and minimized,” he added.

“This is the program that we need in our town. I hope I can also replicate this in other sitios,” he said.

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on July 18, 2014.

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