14 SM Veggie Trainings Slated

The batch that trained 
in 2012 in Pangasinan.

One very successful program that is helping farmers become more entrepreneurial is the Kabalikat Sa Kabuhayan training program for farmers to grow vegetables and other high-value crops (watermelon, honeydew, sweet corn) that was started about five years ago in Bacolod and is being expanded aggressively.

The original proponent is the SM Foundation in collaboration with Harbest Agribusiness headed by Toto Barcelona. It used to be that there were less than 10 batches of trainees in one year. This year, the objective is to undertake no less than 14 batches in different parts of the country.

The first batch for 2013, the 47thbatch with 123 participants, was launched last January 18 at the Lex Mundi Monastery Farm run by the Monks of St. John the Baptist in Hacienda Binitin, Murcia, Negros Occidental.

On Friday, January 25, the 48thbatch of trainees will be launched in Monkayo, Compostela Valley, to help rehabilitate the livelihood of the victims of Typhoon Pablo and the beneficiaries of the “Pantawid” program of the government. This batch is being implemented in cooperation with the Department of Social Welfare and Development headed by Sec. Dinky Soliman.

The participants will be taught not only how to grow vegetables but also proper character formation and business enterprise empowerment. The graduates will be linked with wholesale buyers of supermarkets like Savemore, SM Hypermart and Supermarkets so they will be assured of a market for their produce.

The beauty of this KSK program is that it is now being noticed by various agencies, public and private. They want to join a winner. Just like what the DSWD has done. This is good because more people would be trained to be productive and entrepreneurial.

It is possible for local government units to join the program by sponsoring some of the participants. Mayors and governors could participate in the program so that more jobs and livelihood in the countryside would be created.

Local NGOs with their own funding could also collaborate with the KSK organizers so more farmers could participate in the program. The more the merrier, as they say.

The third batch for 2013 will be conducted in Batangas City; the 4th will be at the Bulacan Agricultural State College, followed by batches in Cebu City, Laoag City, Tarlac, Magallanes (Cavite), Cabanatuan City, La Trinidad (Benguet), Minalin (Pampanga), Legazpi City and Tanay, Rizal.
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