TESDA and SM Foundation strengthens partnership to empower local farmers
TAGUIG CITY - The Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) and the SM Foundation Incorporated (SMFI) continue to work together in training farmers from both urban and rural areas in the country.
The partnership was reinforced with a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) signed by TESDA Secretary Isidro Lapeña and SMFI Executive Director Deborah Pe Sy last month to ensure the smooth implementation of the project dubbed as "Kabalikat sa Kabuhayan (KSK) Farmers Training Program".
KSK aims to provide hands-on and season-long training on high value crops for small-scale farmers for them to produce better quality and higher yielding fruits and vegetables, increase their food production and improve livelihood opportunities for their families.
The project will also link ordinary farmers with large-scale farmers to create a knowledge sharing network on agribusinesses and will serve as a platform for showcasing and marketing farmers' products to attract potential markets.
Lapeña believes that the partnership will ease the burden of ordinary farmers on finding buyers, and for them to have a more reasonable and fair income.
"Our farmers are dependent on middlemen who buy their products for a very cheap price while these middlemen sell double or triple the price. Now, we will teach our farmers the technology and the new ways to upgrade their products and link them directly to bigger markets," Lapeña explained.
Among TESDA's tasks stated in the 3-year MOA is to provide scholarship grants to identified eligible participants through selected farm schools that will implement the project; assess graduate participants and issue corresponding Certificate of Competency or National Certification to those who achieved the required units of competency under the agency's prevailing rules and regulations; and provide trainers to conduct agri-related training suitable for participants of the project, if necessary.
SMFI is tasked to select and finance the season-long training modules on commercial high-value crop production and farm inputs on selected project sites; finance logistical requirements for KSK events and activities which include the launching, harvest festival, the provision of starter tool kits, among others as agreed upon by the parties. SMFI shall also help identify large scale farmers who are willing to assist and share their knowledge to the beneficiaries of the project in selected areas.
SMFI also partnered with TESDA-Region III last year to implement an agricultural training for farmers that focuses on the Indigenous People in the region which produced 317 graduates with 268 TESDA National Certificate passers in Agricultural Crops Production NC III and Organic Agriculture Production NC II.