Farmers, 4Ps in Legazpi to plant fruits, veggies for SM

By Emmanuel Solis LEGAZPI CITY--- Some 105 farmers and 30 members of Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) in this city will cultivate high-value commercial crops and other plants after their graduation from a three-month training on Thursday. The training, conducted by the city government, SM Foundation and HARBEST Corporation started March 14 and ends on June 14. The training is part of preparations for the opening of SM Legazpi City in September. Mayor Noel Rosal, in an interview, said HARBEST Corp. would provide planting materials imported from Taiwan that include melon, pakwan, cauliflower, broccoli, eggplant, papaya, ampalaya sweet corn and other different high-value crops for distribution to all the farmers who attended the training. “The farmers, who attended lectures and hands-on training to learn and to know the proper way of planting conducted every Friday in the half hectare land training site, are now ready to prove that they are prepared and reliable”, Rosal added. The SM Foundation will require all the farmers to supply at least 500 pieces of high-quality melon every week as requested by the SM concessionaire but the fruit should be at least one kilo per piece, he pointed out. Rosal revealed that aside from melon fruits, the SM concessionaire has also expressed intention to buy volume of different kinds of vegetables that farmers can produce as part of the preparation for the opening of SM City. City Agriculturist Jess Kallos, on the other hand, said that his office and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) would also conduct training for all the farmers on value formation as well as financial management, marketing and processing and post-harvest in order to maintain and sustain the supply of different agricultural products to the SM concessionaire. Kallos revealed that his office will always monitor the farmers and assist them on how to apply the proper way of planting fruits and vegetables to make sure they get a sufficient harvest. Another group of farmers, who were highly affected by the volcanic eruption of Mount Mayon last January, will also receive planting materials from the CAO to be planted outside the six kilometer danger zone as part of their livelihood activities. (PNA)