Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Farming futures

Jayson and Juanito proudly showcase a selection of produce at the SM City Clark’s Weekend Market.

While modern agricultural techniques increase yields for some, there are still many Filipino farmers who struggle to keep up. These seasoned workers find themselves falling behind in a market that demands higher output, clinging to familiar but often inefficient methods passed down through generations.

Jayson Garcia, a farmer from Pampanga, attempted to challenge this dominant narrative in his family. He knew he needed to chart a new course for his farm and innovate in order to remain competitive in today's rapidly changing agricultural landscape.

“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 needed a breakthrough to revitalize his farming techniques, and the SM Foundation's high-value crop cultivation training program provided it. These included selecting and caring for the best seeds, as well as developing strategic planting plans.

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

The livelihood program also enabled him to discover new sales channels that increased his earning potential while offering fair prices to his customers. The knowledge and confidence he gained enabled him to expand his farm, bringing his monthly income to more than Php25,000.

Aside from selling his harvests directly, he is now growing a variety of vegetables on his farm, such as lemongrass, malunggay, and madre de cacao, and selling them online to small businesses that process the produce into other products.

Embracing new techniques
Juanito Dela Cruz, another KSK farmer from Pampanga, shares the same story of hope. Despite his age, he actively pursued and embraced modern farming methods. Building on his current success, he emphasized the importance of adaptability for farmers, encouraging others to experiment and explore new practices.

Juanito's earnings increased from a modest monthly income of Php10,000 to around Php30,000 weekly, owing primarily 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

The SM Group's KSK program has impacted the lives of approximately 30,000 Filipino farmers, including Jayson and Juanito. Farmers who had previously lost hope have been able to embrace modern farming techniques thanks to its initiatives, resulting in adaptability in the face of an ever-changing agricultural landscape.

The SM Group, through the SM Foundation, remains committed to promoting social good. This commitment extends to SM's upcoming endeavors, which will be led by its future smart city property development, with a focus on increasing positive social impact in the communities where it operates.

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