Since 2015, SM Foundation, Incorporated in partnership with the Department of Social Welfare and Development Field Office 1, Department of Agriculture Regional Field Office 1, Harbest Agribusiness Corporation and some Local Government Units in Region 1 has been providing technical assistance among farmers through its Kabalikat sa Kabuhayan (KSK) Farmer’s Training Program. This  initiative aims to support communities through food security and poverty reduction by introducing modern farming techniques among the trainees.

One hundred eight (108) trainees from Calasiao, Bugallon, and Aguilar in Pangasinan successfully graduated from the 7-month long training recently. Thirty-eight (38) of the trainees were Pantawid Pamilya beneficiaries, 15 of them are Sustainable Livelihood Program served beneficiaries of the DSWD.

Originally, the training module which started in June 2018 should run for three months only, however, due to natural calamities that devastated the province during the implementation, it was extended to four months to allow rehabilitation and coping mechanism trainings. Modern and practical ways of land preparation, crop management, and harvesting techniques were introduced to the program participants.

Ang training na ito ang magpapataas sa aming ani. Nagboluntaryo akong sumali dahil sa kabila ng aking edad ay gusto ko pa ring guminhawa ang aking buhay (This training will increase our yield. I volunteered to be one of the trainees despite my age because I still look forward to a better life),” said Bernardino Morales, 66, as he showed gratitude to all stakeholders who have helped in the realization of their training.  He owned the 7,000 square meter lot at Brgy. Doyong, Calasiao where the project site and training took place.

Regional Director Marcelo Nicomedes J. Castillo acknowledged the vital role of partnership among the stakeholders in the successful implementation of livelihood projects and other social welfare assistance being extended to the community. “Dapat talaga ay magkakasama ang iba’t-ibang ahensya at institusyon upang mas mapalawak pa ang maibibigay na tulong at makarating ang totoong tulong sa dapat nitong patunguhan (Agencies and institutions should converge to provide extensive assistance to reach the beneficiaries who really need it most),” he said.

From 2015 to 2017, 282 SLP participants from Aringay, La Union; Laoag City, Ilocos Norte; and Pozorrubio, San Fabian, and Lingayen, Pangasinan benefitted the same training which they maximized to improve their chosen microenterprises. (by: Janine Joy B. Altero, Social Marketing Officer, Sustainable Livelihood Program)