One training program that has been going on continuously for about six years now is the Kabalikat sa Kabuhayan (KSK) program launched in 2007 in Bacolod City. Since then, it has spread to practically all the regions in the country.
The program has already trained more than 50 batches of trainees, one of the latest of which is the batch that trained in Brgy. Medina in Magallanes, Cavite. In this batch, a total of 123 farmers and aspiring vegetable growers participated.
As a fitting culmination of their 12-week training, a harvest festival was held last July 25 where the participants themselves harvested the fruits of their labor.
They really got a bountiful harvest of squash, watermelon and sweet melons, cucumber, bell pepper, upo, patola, stringbeans, ampalaya, eggplant, tomatoes and honeydew.
The program has been a close collaboration of SM Foundation and Harbest Agribusiness as well as the Department of Agriculture, local government units and nongovernment organizations.
The beauty about the project is that it is really a hands-on training program that lasts for 12 sessions, long enough for the participants to wait for the harvest of most of their crops.
The training consists of lectures as well as hands-on activities. The lectures cover the basics of scientific crop production, including the use of high-yielding seeds, importance of preventing and controlling pests and diseases, the importance of using plastic mulch, proper pruning, harvesting, postharvest handling and the like.
In their hands-on practice, they undergo land preparation, seedling germination and care, hardening of seedlings, transplanting, fertilization, crop protection, irrigation and the like.
Besides crop production, the Department of Social Welfare and Development has of late provided additional training to the participants. DSWD experts have been conducting entrepreneurial skills training for the participants. On the other hand, the Banco de Oro personnel have been conducting seminars on accounting for non-accountants. These will equip the trainees with the skills that will enable to market their produce and become entrepreneurs, thus improving their living standards.
Another recent batch that held their harvest festival and graduation was KSK Batch 52. This was at the Isabela State University which started last April 19. This batch consisted of 159 participants from 14 towns of Isabela province.