The philanthropic arm of the country’s largest conglomerate, SM Investments Corp., has teamed up with social entrepreneurs to help small farmers monetize unsold crops during the Luzon-wide lockdown.

With agricultural harvest in full swing this summer season, SM Foundation Inc. (SMFI)’s Kabalikat sa Kabuhayan (KSK) program for farmer-trainees is looking for innovative ways to process raw vegetables and sell crops during the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).

In a press statement on Friday, SMFI assistant vice president for outreach programs Cristie Angeles said the bayanihan spirt had been upheld by KSK’s partner, Maricon Mills, which immediately gathered farmers’ unsold products such as chili, mangoes tomatoes and cucumber for processing.

“To help the local farmers, the said social enterprise processed the products of our KSK farmers such as chili, made pickled mangoes and cucumber and turned the tomatoes into candies while the leafy vegetables were sold locally,” Angeles said.

RiceUp – a social enterprise project that aims to empower Filipino farmers and allow them to directly connect with consumers – is also working closely with SMFI and KSK farmer-trainees to facilitate the purchase of KSK’s produce in Pampanga.

“We are all in this together. To date, we have sold more than 500 kilos of vegetables from KSK farmers at fair prices,” said RiseUp founder Elvin Laceda.
Angeles said she was amazed at “how they [farmers] encouraged one another to keep on planting to ensure that they will have enough food for their community during the ECQ.”

She is also hoping that local government units (LGUs) would consider buying vegetables from small farmers and make their produce part of their food allocation for distribution to constituents.

KSK aims to uplift the lives of Filipino communities at the grassroots level through sustainable agriculture via technology transfer, product development and farm-to-market linkage.

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