THE SM Foundation Inc. (SMFI) continues to work on creating models for agriculture collaboration and helping to advance sustainable farm and fishery development through multi-stakeholder approaches.

SMFI’s Kabalikat Sa Kabuhayan on Sustainable Agriculture program (KSK) has evolved through the years since its launch in 2007. It has branched out to rural areas advocating urban farming, which became an alternative livelihood source to marginalized Filipinos living in the metro.

Photo shows some of the beneficiaries of the Kabalikat Sa Kabuhayan on Sustainable Agriculture program of SM Foundation Inc. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

SMFI also partnered with the Department of Agriculture, Department of Social Welfare and Development, local government units (LGUs) and various nongovernment agencies as part of its goal of institutionalizing partnerships to uplift the economic status of rural communities and increase farmer incomes.

SMFI also strengthened its partnership in 2019 with the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (Tesda), which provided scholarship grants focusing on agriculture production to almost 1,500 KSK beneficiaries nationwide.

Tesda’s partner schools also served as advisors or “Big Brothers” of the participants. The program eventually created a new path wherein beneficiaries, aside from establishing their own agri-enterprises, are able to land green-collar jobs.

As the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic heightened, KSK program implementation was reprogrammed conform to rules and regulations imposed by the LGUs and the national government’s Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases.

Together with its partners, SMFI strengthened its regional execution by utilizing digital technology to virtually coordinate with local-based partners.

Despite the pandemic, SMFI was also able to implement its sustainable agriculture program in more than 30 sites nationwide, providing 1,300 local farmers with competitive skills that were certified by Tesda.

KSK’s Big Brother Schools in Dinalupihan, Bataan and in Kapangan, Benguet also extended their help in spreading social good. D’Planner Farm School, for example, shared harvested crops to communities and frontliners. In Kapangan, produce was either sold or shared within the community. St. Isidore Learning Center and Castro Tomas Farm Schools bought produce from participants for distribution in villages (barangay).

The program also opened local agri-enterprise opportunities for KSK farmers. It was able to provide grants to qualified participants that can be used for agri startups. They were also provided additional training to further their business acumen.

To provide markets for KSK farmers, partnerships were also forged with with SM Markets, SM Supermalls and SM Development Corp.

Through a multi-stakeholder approach, the KSK initiative was able to pool resources that enabled the program to scale up, reaching more people and increasing the impact of interventions.

Source: Manila Times