PGIN strengthens support to Ilocano farmers, launches KSK program

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Over 50 Ilocano farmers will be undergoing a 12-week training on advanced agricultural technology as Governor Imee R. Marcos in partnership with SM Foundation launched the batch 94 of the Kabalikat sa Kabuhayan (KSK) training program on July 15 at VL Farms, Laoag City, Ilocos Norte.

“We aim to upgrade the quality of agriculture in the province by providing more opportunities and support to our farmers and help them to produce crops ready for high-end markets,” said Governor Marcos during the launching.

Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos (front, center) is flanked by Cristie Angeles (in yellow), Assistant Vice President of SM Foundation and Laoag City Mayor Chevylle Fariñas during the launching of the Kabalikat sa Kabuhayan Farmers’ Training Program held July 15, 2015 in Barangay Balacad, Laoag City. Also in the photo are (from L-R): SM Savemore Laoag Store Manager Herbert Soriano, SM Hypermarket Laoag Selling Supervisor Olivia Gale, VL Farms owner Michael Luis, and Laoag City Councillor Derick Lao.

Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos (front, center) is flanked by Cristie Angeles (in yellow), Assistant Vice President of SM Foundation and Laoag City Mayor Chevylle Fariñas during the launching of the Kabalikat sa Kabuhayan Farmers’ Training Program held July 15, 2015 in Barangay Balacad, Laoag City. Also in the photo are (from L-R): SM Savemore Laoag Store Manager Herbert Soriano, SM Hypermarket Laoag Selling Supervisor Olivia Gale, VL Farms owner Michael Luis, and Laoag City Councillor Derick Lao.

SM Foundation’s Assistant Vice President Cristie Angeles noted that aside from the technical knowledge, the training program will also teach necessary skills in marketing, trading and entrepreneurship to make them self-sufficient.

Governor Marcos noted that the Ilocano farmers are hard working, often recognized nationally for their effective planting practices, but the problem is that they fail in the marketing and trading aspect.

Last May, PGIN has started to address this problem by implementing the garlic buyback scheme to assist the local garlic producers to widen their market reach.

“We intend to help the farmers on selling their crops by linking them on their suppliers. And as SM doubles the number of its stores in the future, it would also mean an additional market for the Ilocano farmers,” said Angeles.

She added that the program will also “help in solving the shortage of vegetable supply…not only the ones being sold in SM stores but also in the local markets.”

Meanwhile, PGIN has also invited Taiwanese farming experts who will extend their assistance on modern farming techniques to the Ilocano farmers in the coming months.

“There are numerous new agricultural technologies that we need to have and I am hopeful that this program will start modern agriculture in the province,” added Governor Marcos.

Started in 2006, the KSK program is funded by SM Foundation with technical supervision from Harbest Agribusiness Corporation. The program is also supported by the Department of Social Welfare and Development and Department of Agriculture.John Michael Mugas, PGIN-CMO

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