Friday, August 18, 2023

The SM Store Launches “Shop&Share for Sustainable Livelihood” – An Initiative That Empowers Indigent Farmers and Supports the Agricultural Community in Mindanao

ZAMBOANGA, PHILIPPINES. In line with its continuing commitment to positively impact local communities, SM Store will diversify its approach towards (corporate) social responsibility this 2023. Through this inaugural program, SM Store empowers shoppers to become agents of positive change by participating in programs that will advocate community development and sustainability.

Last July 10, 2023, SM Store, in partnership with ACE Express, announced a new initiative, known as Shop&Share for Sustainable Livelihood, which aims to empower farmers and support the agricultural community in the Mindanao region. The program’s primary goal is to impact the lives of the farming community in Zamboanga Sibugay by donating a farming toolkit for a minimum single-receipt spend of P800 in ACE Express. This initiative fulfills a sense of social responsibility and offers shoppers a unique opportunity to be directly involved in giving back to the community.

Bernard Ong, President of ACE Hardware Philippines, expressed their unyielding support for the community at large: “At ACE Express, we're proud to be a part of the Shop&Share campaign with the SM Store. We stand by our commitment to be helpful, not only to customers, but also to the local community. By providing farming toolkits, we hope to provide the PhilSEED farmers the means for sustaining their livelihood and a way to improve their lives.”

SM Store also collaborated with Philippine Social Empowerment and Equity Development Foundation (PhilSEED) Inc. – a pioneering nonprofit organization committed to the economic and social prosperity of farmers and their communities in the Philippines. One of their priority projects is “The Cacao Project” – an 18-month program, which focuses on an all-encompassing training from experts that will enable the farmers to be equipped with the proper knowledge about the agri-business.

Mr. Josh Mahinay, the Chief Executive Officer of PhilSEED, shared that the organization is gearing towards reigniting the farmers' dying passion for agriculture. “Farmers remain the poorest in the Philippines; but their poverty situation is not a hopeless case if stakeholders can come together and build an enabling environment that will empower them. Almost no farmer-parents want their children to farm, and that is why it is very important to intentionally co-create solutions through partnerships such as this and produce more success stories on the ground to show, especially to the young people, that there is economic viability in farming, that farming is a good career path to choose. This is very important for the food security of our country.”

Despite being the unsung heroes of our society, Filipino farmers have little to no access to the necessary farming tools due to lack of funds. To assist these farmers, PhilSEED actively seeks assistance from organizations that can provide funding to meet the farmers' requirements. Through its partnership with SM Store and ACE Express, PhilSEED’s call for support has been answered.

Notwithstanding this campaign, SM Store and ACE Express were able to turnover more than one hundred (100) farming toolkits and a generator set to the indigent farmers of Zamboanga Sibugay. Access to basic tools will enable farmers to increase their productivity, encourage efficient work practices, and effective farm management. Furthermore, by supporting indigent farmers with the necessary tools, the entirety of the agricultural community can experience progress. As individual farmers thrive, they contribute to the overall development and well-being of their community.

“This initiative aims to empower our community partners by providing them with the necessary toolkits needed to make their livelihood more sustainable. We are grateful to our loyal and generous customers who played a vital role in this cause. This partnership with PhilSEED and ACE Express is a testament of how SM Store is working together with our stakeholders to continue our legacy of sharing and serving the communities for over 65 years,” explained Dhinno S. Tiu, SM Store’s Executive Vice President.

Shop&Share for a Sustainable Livelihood marked the beginning of a series of advocacy programs to come. As SM Store endeavors to carry on with this journey, its commitment to empower the members of various communities only grows stronger. Surely, with the continuous support and strong collaboration with the stakeholders, a brighter future for all is assured to be realized.