SMI’s partnership with our host communities has come a long way. As a responsible partner in community development, SMI has invested PhP1.2 billion to support the development initiatives of the local government units, tribal communities, and other partners in the public and private sectors.
These programs have transformed into beautiful stories over the years - real stories of real people who have experienced real change in their lives.
More of these inspiring stories will be featured in the maiden issue of Panag-uban, the annual community development magazine published by SMI, that is soon to be released this August.
I started working with the Kimlawis Abaca Farmers Association in 2013. At that time, we were only 53 members. Over the years, our membership increased to 106. We started a hog raising project and a lending project. Unfortunately, the hog raising project failed, but the lending project was very successful.
Before, the farmers in Kimlawis would borrow money to finance farm production from lenders who charge high interest rates. During harvest time, they were hesitant to sell their produce to the lenders as they felt they were being short-changed. The Lending Project changed everything. It is what the farmers needed - capital with a low-interest rate. Because of the project, the member-farmers now have flexibility in handling their capital and farm produce without resorting to loans with higher interest.
Today, we are proud to say that our Association has a separate passbook for the income from the interests collected from the members, amounting to P500,000. This is on top of the initial seed money given by SMI. With the availability of capital, we can now cultivate all available land on our farm and fill them with crops. We are now able to maximize the fruits of our labor.
Nilo Duazo, 51 years old, is a member of the Board of Directors of Kimlawis Farmers Association. The said association received seed money from SMI to fund its livelihood projects.