SM Foundation empowers Bulacan Farmers through Kabalikat sa Kabuhayan Training Program

SM Foundation Assistant Vice President Cristie Angeles and Harbest Agribusiness Corporation President Arsenio ‘Toto’ Barcelona joined farmers in harvesting fruits and vegetables. Mini “tiangge” was set up for farm produce crops like eggplant, bitter gourd, string beans, honeydew, lettuce, sweet corn, melon, watermelon, squash and cucumber.

The 34th Kabalikat sa Kabuhayan ,a season-long training program on commercial vegetables and short-term fruits production culminated last November 11, 2011. This program is a collaborative effort of SM Foundation Incorporated, Harbest Agribusiness Corporation, Department of Agriculture, Provincial Agriculture Office and Municipal Agriculture Office, aimed to empower farmers through the technological knowledge gained from the 16-week training.

Through its 12- step program, farmers were taught of pest and disease control, fruit selection, harvesting, post-harvest handling, accounting and marketing. The training program also covers topics such as site selection, land preparation, seed handling and seedling culture, crop management, fertilization and irrigation.

Trainees were divided into four groups and were able to have technical briefing, lecture and hands-on field practice during the duration of the program. The demo farm which serves as the training site of the farmers located at Barangay Sta. Rosa II in Marilao, Bulacan has a 5,000 square meter flat and fertile land. Its accessibility benefitted over a hundred farmers from Bocaue, Marilao, Norzagaray, Pandi, Plaridel, Meycauayan, San Jose and Sta. Maria. The said training program also gave assistance to farmers not only in alleviating agricultural economic status but also in attaining agricultural sustainability by developing a customized local farming.

Highlighting the event was the harvest festival in which farm produce like eggplant, bitter gourd, string beans, honeydew, lettuce, sweet corn, melon, watermelon, squash and cucumber were all available for sale. This served as a jump start to market-linkage by opening opportunities for farmers to sell the crops that they grow at SM City Marilao mall area.

The Kabalikat sa Kabuhayan Farmers Training Program is spearheaded by SM Foundation Incorporated who has financed the launching ceremony, harvest festival and graduation ceremony. Jointly implemented by the Department of Agriculture Regional Offices, the whole training program was supervised by Harbest Agribusiness Corporation- a seed corporation which provided the farm inputs such as seeds, fertilizers, fungicides, and plastic mulch as well as seedling trays.

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2 REACTIONS

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