Left photo: The 24 Pantawid Pamilya beneficiaries who successfully finished the Farmers Training Program Right Photo: Raquel (in jacket) receives her certificate of completion.

After undergoing a short training course on farming, 24 Pantawid Pamilya beneficiaries in Sta. Cecilia, Aringay, La Union are now ready for their own farming venture employing the skills and techniques they gained.

Along with other 119 trainees, these Pantawid Pamilya beneficiaries received their certificate of completion during their graduation ceremony at the SM City Baguio Event Center. They finished a 12 week (February 5-April 27) farmers training sponsored by the SM Foundation Incorporated’s Kabalikat sa Kabuhayan Farmers Training Program and Harbest Agribusiness Corporation in partnership with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Field Office 1 and other government agencies.

DSWD Field Office 1 Assistant Regional Director Marlene Febes D. Peralta congratulated all the graduates and to quote in her speech, “Ang bawat isa sa atin ay nakakatulong sa pagsibol at paglago ng katagumpayan. Tayong lahat ay magkabalikat sa kabuhayan at kaunlaran.”

She further added that the convergence of SM Foundation Inc. and Harbest Agribusiness Corporation with DSWD and other government agencies gave hope and opportunities to the farmer-participants for them to improve their lives through investing into agriculture.

For sustainability, the farmer-participants were equipped with entrepreneurial skills through the DSWD’s Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP). It will continue to provide additional assistance to the Pantawid Pamilya training finishers for them to start their own income generating activities. Meanwhile, Assistant Vice President for Livelihood and Outreach Programs Cristie S. Angeles underscored that SM Foundation Inc. commits to connect the farmers to market opportunities.

Pantawid Pamilya beneficiary Raquel Ruiz, 37, housewife stated that with the farming skills she gained from the training, she can start her own business to generate greater income for her family. They will also share their farming knowledge and skills to their fellow beneficiaries in their barangay.

A day before their graduation, a harvest festival was conducted in Sta. Cecilia, Aringay, La Union wherein all the farmer-participants enjoyed picking their abundant and fresh high value crop vegetables and displayed them for sale at the farm while having fun with parlor games and performances. (by: Jaesem Ryan A. Gaces, Information Officer II/Pantawid Pamilya)