KAPANGAN, Benguet, Oct. 31 (PIA) -- At least 50 farmer-beneficiaries in Kapangan graduated from the Kabalikat sa Kabuhayan on Sustainable Agriculture Program (KsK-SAP) training on Monday (October 26).
The farmer-beneficiaries comprising Batch 219 of the program underwent a six week-long lecture and hands-on training in a demo farm in Kapangan through the guidance of Pat Acosta of the Master's Garden Farm School.
The participants were taught how to grow safe and sustainable crops, vegetables and fruits in their own backyards, and inspired them to become entrepreneurs amidst economic challenges, limited planting space and resources, and changing weather conditions.
The KSK-SAP is a holistic training program designed to prepare farmer participants in becoming productive and effective farmer entrepreneurs through the convergence private and government sectors and offices.
The partnership is spearheaded by SM Foundation Inc. (SMFI) with SM Supermalls, SM Markets, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, Department of Agriculture, Department of Social Welfare and Development, Philippine Information Agency, St. Isidore "The Farmer" Learning Center Inc., Macondray Phils., the Provincial Government of Benguet and Municipal Government of Kapangan.
The program was launched in March this year but its implementation was delayed due the COVID-19 pandemic. It was revived in August until it was completed earlier this month.
In a video message, SMFI Assistant Vice President for Outreach Programs Cristie Angeles said that despite the challenges, the SM Foundation and its partner agencies from both the private and government, pushed through with the program and fulfilled their promise to help the farmer -beneficiaries learn farming techniques through training program.
Angeles said that due to the pandemic, they have to adjust to the new normal and took up the challenges thru the support of the different partners and the farmer beneficiaries as well.
Normally, the training program would take up to three months and upon graduation would be a Harvest Festival at the nearest SM Mall to showcase the products which were produced by the farmers during their training. This would also kick off the sale of the farmers' produce in the SM outlets.
The KSK-SAP training graduates received National Certificate or NCII on Agriculture Crop Production from the TESDA thru Benguet Provincial Director Vilma Cabrera during the graduation ceremony. They also received their training fees from TESDA.
Kapangan Mayor Manny Fermin thanked all the stakeholders for their support to the people of the municipality particularly in the KSK-SAP which trained some of the farmers to level up in their farming skills.
He said the training program not only encouraged the farmers to learn to farm and improve their skills in the fields but also it made them realize the importance of farming particularly in food production and food security during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Fermin hopes that SM Foundation and the other partners agencies continue to come up with training programs that help uplift the knowledge of the people in farming and other aspects in far flung and rural areas.
Messages of support and congratulations were also delivered thru video messages by TESDA Secretary General Isidro Lapena, DA Sec. William Dar, DA Usec. Evelyn Lavina, DA-CAR Regional Director Cameron Odsey, DSWD Sec. Rolando Bautista, DSWD Sustainable Livelihood Program National Director Resitituto Macuto, DSWD-CAR Regional Director Leo Quintilla, PIA-CAR Regional Director Helen Tibaldo, St. Isidore "The Farmer" Learning Center Engr. Romeo Cordova, SMFI DDG John Bertiz III and SM Market Senior VP Operations Reynaldo Del Valle.
The SM Foundation is now coordinating with the SM City Baguio and other malls for the possible monthly sale of the produce of the farmer- beneficiaries. (JDP/RMC- PIA CAR)