Tomato candies, pickled mangoes help farmers sell harvests with SM Foundation assistance

Candied tomatoes help address the need to use surplus harvest that cannot be sold in the regular market due to the lockdown. Photo from Cristie Angeles.

Farmers are turning their tomato harvests into candies and mangoes into picked dishes with the help of SM Foundation’s (SMFI) Social Good program on sustainable agriculture.

The farmers have been looking for innovative ways to process their raw vegetables and sell their crops amid the Luzon lockdown which has delayed and stopped regular deliveries to markets.

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The collaborative project between the SM group and farmer-trainees of SM’s Kabalikat Sa Kabuhayan program addresses the surplus of harvests at farms during this summer season.

SM livelihood program partner Maricon Mills took the unsold products of the farmer-trainees and turned tomatoes into candies, made pickled mangoes, processed chili, and sold the leafy vegetables.

SM Foundation’s Kabalikat Sa Kabuhayan program helped link with farmer-trainees with buyers of fresh produce. Photo from SM Foundation.

SMFI’s Assistant Vice President for Outreach Programs Cristie Angeles happily shared that amid the challenge, “the bayanihan spirit lives on through KSK’s project partner, Maricon Mills who immediately gathered the [farmers’] unsold products such as chili, mangoes tomatoes and cucumber. 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.

​Aside from Maricon Mills, RiceUp, a social enterprise project that aims to empower Filipino farmers and allows them to directly connect with consumers is also working closely with the latter and KSK farmer trainees to facilitate the purchase of KSK’s produce in Pampanga. According to RiseUp founder Elvin Laceda “We are all in this together. To date, we have sold more than 500 kilos of vegetables from KSK farmers at fair prices”.

Angeles said what amazed her most was “how they [the farmers] encouraged one another to keep on planting to ensure that they will have enough food for their community during the ECQ. She also hopes that local government units (LGUs) explore buying vegetables from small farmers and make their produce part of their food allocations for their constituents.

SEND CHEERS in the comments below to SM Foundation for helping farmers sell their harvests this summer even amid the lockdown to stop the spread of COVID-19.

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