With harvest in full swing at farms during this summer season, SM Foundation’s (SMFI) Kabalikat sa Kabuhayan (KSK) program farmer-trainees are now looking for innovative ways to process their raw vegetables and sell their crops amid the Luzon lockdown brought about by the government’s implementation of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) to avoid the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
SMFI’s Assistant Vice President for Outreach Programs Cristie Angeles happily shared that amid the challenge, “the bayanihan spirt lives on through KSK’s project partner, Maricon Mills who immediately gathered the [farmers’] unsold products such as chili, mangoes tomatoes and cucumber.
To help the local farmers, the said social enterprise processed the products of our KSK farmers such as chili, made pickled mangoes and cucumber and turned the tomatoes into candies while the leafy vegetables were sold locally. Aside from Maricon Mills, RiceUp, a social enterprise project that aims to empower Filipino farmers and allows them to directly connect with consumers is also working closely with the latter and KSK farmer trainees to facilitate the purchase of KSK’s produce in Pampanga.
According to RiseUp founder Elvin Laceda “We are all in this together. To date, we have sold more than 500 kilos of vegetables from KSK farmers at fair prices”. Angeles said what amazed her most was “how they [the farmers] encouraged one another to keep on planting to ensure that they will have enough food for their community during the ECQ. She also hopes that local government units (LGUs) explore buying vegetables from small farmers and make their produce part of their food allocations for their constituents.
SM Foundation’s Kabalikat Sa Kabuhayan (KSK) is SMFI’s Social Good program on sustainable agriculture. The program aims to uplift the lives of Filipinos in grassroot communities through sustainable agriculture via technology transfer, product development and farm-market linkage.