Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Farming futures

Modern farming methods increase yields for some farmers, but many Filipino farmers are still unable to keep up. These seasoned workers are clinging to tried-and-true, frequently ineffective techniques that have been passed down through the generations as they find themselves falling behind in a market that demands increased output.

Jayson Garcia, a Pampanga farmer, aimed to challenge the dominant narrative within his family. He was aware that, in the quickly changing world of contemporary agriculture, he would need to innovate and set a new direction for his farm in order to stay competitive.

“Noon, mahirap ang magtanim,” he recalled their life before joining SM Foundation’s Kabalikat sa Kabuhayan. “Para bang tsambahan, basta pag itinanim mo ‘yan, hintayin mo na lang mamunga. Mas mahirap pa lalo kapag nagkaroon ng kalamidad.” ~Jayson Garcia, One farmer from Pampanga

Garcia's training program at SM Foundation, which concentrated on cultivating high-value crops, was the turning point he needed to restore his farming methods. These included choosing the best seeds, taking care of them, and planning planting dates in advance.

Jayson attends the SM City Clark’s Weekend Market to observe best practices and gain insights into new agricultural techniques.

Through the livelihood program, he was also able to find new sales channels that increased his earning potential and allowed him to charge his customers fairly. Because of his increased knowledge and self-assurance, he was able to grow his farm and raise his monthly income to over Php25,000.

In addition to selling his harvests directly, he is currently growing a range of vegetables on his farm, such as madre de cacao, lemongrass, and malunggay, which he sells online to small companies that turn the produce into other goods.

Embracing new techniques
Juanito Dela Cruz, a KSK farmer from Pampanga, also shares the same story of hope. He actively pursued and embraced contemporary farming methods despite his advanced age. Building on his recent achievements, he encouraged others to try new things and discussed the value of flexibility for farmers.

Juanito's earnings increased from Php10,000 per month to approximately Php30,000 per week. This increase was primarily due to his participation in the Weekend Market at SM City Clark.

“Kailangan maging bukas tayo sa makabagong pamamaraan ng pagsasaka para makahabol tayo sa demands ng panahon ngayon—ito ang itinuo sa akin ng SM Foundation-KSK.” ~Juanito Dela Cruz, KSK farmer from Pampanga

Jayson and Juanito are two of the approximately 30,000 Filipino farmers whose lives have been transformed by the SM Group's KSK program. Farmers who had given up thanks to its initiatives were able to adopt contemporary farming methods and become more adaptive in the face of the changing agricultural landscape.

The SM Group is unwavering in its dedication to advancing social good through the SM Foundation. This commitment continues to SM's upcoming initiatives, which will be spearheaded by its planned smart city real estate development, with an emphasis on boosting beneficial social impact in the areas in which SM operates.

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