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Thursday, January 24, 2013

TOFARM Awards:2013 Outstanding Farmer Recognized

TOFARM Awards:2013 Outstanding Farmer Recognized

Thanks to the support of JCIP, UHI and LGUs, our local farmers are now being given awards and recognition they long deserve. As we all know food is becoming scarcer since agricultural lands are being converted left and right into malls, subdivisions, condominiums, cemetery and what have you. It is a fact that unless we shift our priorities to supporting farmers and glamorizing their role in nation-building, we are going to have a problem in food supply in the very near future.

It is about time that Filipino people start planting vegetables and fruits in their backyards or even in pots due to the food crisis that we may face soon. 

TOFARM, a search and awards program launched last July by the Junior Chamber International Philippines (JCIP) and Universal Harvester Inc. (UHI) aims to refocus attention on the importance and viability of agriculture as an industry and vocation.

Twenty-seven notable representatives of the agricultural sector were hailed Farmer of the Year by a board of judges composed of industry leaders and recognized specialists in the agricultural sector.

The Tofarm awards night was held at the Raffles Hotel in Makati last Thursday,  Jan. 24, 2013 with guests of honor Sen. Francis Pangilinan, chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Food, Calamba Mayor Joaquin M. Chipeco Jr. and international farming experts.

The Search and Award of “The Outstanding Farmers of the Philippines” is a program of the Junior Chamber International Philippines (JCIP) and the Universal Harvester, Incorporated. 

JCI Philippines is the organization that brought “The Outstanding Young Men (TOYM)” and “The Outstanding Filipino (TOFIL)”.

This search and award for farmers is an initiative since the early 70’s by JCIP (formerly Jaycees) and Planters Product. An Awards Program in recognition of the Resiliency, Ingenuity, and the Strength of our hard working Filipino farmers. 

The program is anchored in promoting farming in the youth sector of all classes. The search will be inclusive and participative, expanding from public to private sector stakeholders in agriculture, fisheries and livestock.

This project is open to all Filipino farmers, fisherfolk, animal raisers, cooperatives, farm communities, organizations, education/academe, agricultural scientist, LGUs and public employees, and business entities in both rural and urban areas/centers.

We would like to congratulate Mamerto B. Rarangol of San Mateo, Isabela, a farmer who champions the value of education and the use of the scientific method to maximize farming yields and make every square foot of his land productive was named Farmer of the Year at the TOFARM Awards Night that honors The Outstanding Filipino Farmers of the Year.

Rarangol, who was also named winner in the farmer category, leads 33 other nominees in various award categories, namely: agriculture cooperative, Local Government Unit, agri-entrepreneur, family farmer, young farmer, farmer, fisher folks, livestock, agri-initiatives, agri-innovator and urban/city farmer.

The other winners are: 
  • LABO Progressive Multi-Purpose Cooperative of Labo, Camarines Norte for Agriculture Cooperative
  • Provincial Government of Pangasinan for Local Government Unit
  • Mary Mediatrix V. Villanueva of Daraga, Albay for Agri-entrepreneur
  • Lilia B. Pelayo and a family of San Pedro, Laguna for family farmer
  • Remigio T. Villamayor Jr. of Calamba, Laguna for young farmer
  • Ferdinand B. Mari of Alicia, Isabela for fisherfolks
  • Don Bosco Agro-Mechanical Technology Center of Legaspi City for agri-initiative
  • Bienvenido R. Baligod of San Pedro, Laguna for agri-innovator 
  • Rogelio N. Sulad of Mandaue City for urban/city farmer. 
  • Felomina H. Javina of Narra, Palawan who introduced integrated farming and pest management using indigenous materials in her community won the People’s Choice Award. 
  • Narcisa Mikkelson, who together with her husband Keith promotes sustainable organic farming, received a special citation.
The TOFARM winners received plaques and cash incentives for their achievements.
JCIP president Ivan Ruste said JCIP undertook the TOFARM project to remind the youth about their role in active citizenship.

“Agriculture, the backbone industry of the Philippines, cannot be sustained unless we involve our youth and refocus interest in this sector. Through TOFARM, we want to show our youth that farming is a noble profession that is also lucrative and worthwhile. At the same time we want to recognize the role that generations of farmers have contributed to Philippine society and our economy. We thank our organizing partner, Universal Harvester Inc. for supporting this project very generously and inspiring our farmers to reach new heights.”

Universal Harvester, Inc. represented by its executive vice president Mrs. Milagros Ong-How, said UHI fully supports JCIP in paying tribute to Filipino farmers.

“Through the search and awards, TOFARM hopes to make agriculture attractive for the next generation and for the entire country as well. TOFARM will be a continuing program that will help support and inspire the agricultural sector,” Mrs. How added.

Rommel Cunanan, TOFARM project chairman, JCI Philippines, said that besides recognizing the achievements and contributions made by farmers to the Philippine society and the economy, the program also aims to promote farming among younger generations.

The Junior Chamber International is a worldwide federation of young leaders and entrepreneurs aged 18-40.


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