Farmer groups in Pangasinan are selling their products at a mall here every Friday from June 17 to December this year to boost their income as they hone their entrepreneurial skills.
Lilia Zamora, secretary of the Catablan Farmer’s Association here, said in an interview on Monday the Kabalikat sa Kabuhayan (KSK) scholarship program is “helpful” to the farmers as they can set a better price for their products.
The KSK scholarship program of the SM Foundation is implemented in cooperation with the Department of Agriculture (DA), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), and other national government agencies, she said.
“Nakakabenta kami ng sampong kilo kada variety ng pinakbet na gulay, minsan kulang pa yong sampong kilo. Sa loob ng mall kasi retail price. Kaya malaking tulong ito sa amin (We are able to sell 10 kilos every variety of pinakbet vegetables, sometimes 10 kilos is even not enough to meet the demand. Inside the mall, we could sell the produce in retail price. That’s why, this is a big help to us),” she added.
Zamora said the retail space has been provided to them for free, including their lunch every Friday.
Prior to the scheduled market day at the mall, the farmers who were part of the KSK program were trained from cropping to harvesting and marketing their produce.
“Natutunan namin ‘yong marketing at yong iba’t ibang paraan ng pagpupunla pati na rin tamang pangangalaga sa aming mga pananim kaya gumanda ang ani namin at dito natuturuan din kami ng tamang pagnenegosyo (We were able to learn about marketing and the different ways to plant as well as the proper way of caring for our crops that’s why our harvest was good as we also learn to become entrepreneurs),” she said.
SM City Urdaneta Central mall manager Abraham Malicdem said the KSK scholarship program enhances skills and encourages farmer graduates to become entrepreneurs amid economic challenges, changing weather conditions, and limited planting space and resources.
“With DA, DSWD, DTI, and other partner agencies, KSK continues to hone the talents of the graduates as well as strengthen their interest in farming by helping them become entrepreneurs through pop-up booth activities in participating SM Malls,” he said.
KSK shifts its activities to helping its graduates by providing market exposure in institutionalized selling.
DA Ilocos Region said it provides farm inputs, market linkages, and other technical support.
Malicdem added the DSWD helps in organizing and mobilization of KSK graduates and social preparations, while the DTI offers entrepreneurial mind-setting, formalizes the business documents of participating farmers, assists in developing farm by-products, and includes KSK farmers in its related activities. (PNA)