BPI Foundation, in collaboration with AGREA Foundation, uplifted the lives of 162 farmers in Laguna, enabling them to become more sustainable and financially resilient as part of the Farm to Table program.
“As the social development arm of BPI, our goal is to ensure that our underserved Filipino communities are not left behind as we move forward to a better normal,” said BPI Foundation Executive Director Owen Cammayo.“ To help our dear farmers, who are among the poorest sectors in the country, achieve their best potential in agriculture, we provided them with a holistic enablement and development program called Farm to Table, which integrated education, innovation, entrepreneurship, market linkage, and financial education.”
In partnership with the Department of Science and Technology – Science Education Institute (SEI), the competition aims to challenge bright Filipino students of Basic and Applied Sciences to actively participate in solving prevalent socio-economic problems in the society.
“Innovation is key in building a sustainable, financially inclusive and better Philippines,” said BPI Foundation Executive Director Owen Cammayo. "Through the BPI-DOST Innovation Awards, we aim to recognize and reinforce the role of innovation in nation-building by encouraging our young and promising innovators to develop sustainable products and technologies that will address specific problems in the community.”
A total of 68 farmers learned, explored, and incubated ideas to spark transformation in their communities; the Masterclass for Outstanding Village Economies (MOVE) enabled 70 women farmers to have improved nutrition at home and in their communities through training on food processing and selling of healthy products; and the Youth Leadership and Agripreneurship Workshop (YLAW) introduced 24 young farmers to the basics of agricultural production, enabling them to define their life goals and lead their communities toward economic development.
BPI Foundation Executive Director Owen Cammayo (right) presents the certificate of completion to one of the beneficiaries of the Farm to Table program.
AGREA Foundation CEO Cherrie Atilano shared that their organization is beyond grateful to have the opportunity to help change lives in the farming sector, together with BPI Foundation. “It is always a dream to work with a partner where sustainability truly matters, more so, financial inclusivity by making the farmers bankable has been given enough importance together with the support on market linkage and capacity building,” she said.
Aside from these, the farmers were also linked to direct markets, trained on financial literacy via training sessions under BPI Foundation's FinEd Unboxed program, and provided opportunities to avail of formal financial services through BPI Direct BanKo, the microfinance unit of BPI, to increase their capacity to earn and provide for themselves and their families.
A farmer from Majayjay, Laguna unloads their harvested vegetable produce.
One of the farmer beneficiaries, May Estera, expressed her gratitude for the free Farm-to-table training sessions, saying, "Nakatulong po ang Farm to Table program sa pang-araw-araw na buhay namin dahil natutunan namin ang Zero Waste Management at wala na kaming nasasayang na gulay. Makakaasa po kayo na hindi namin sasayangin ang aming mga natutunan (The Farm to Table program helped us in our daily lives because we have learned about Zero Waste Management and we no longer have wasted vegetable produce. Rest assured that we will not waste what we have learned.)”
The farmers from Majayjay are all set to sell their produce in neighboring communities such as Bay, Los Baños, and Calamba in Laguna, and in Metro Manila.
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