Saturday, March 23, 2013

TOFARM 2013 : Recognizing More Outstanding Farmers Nationwide

Wazzup Pilipinas !

The second consecutive search for The Outstanding Filipino Farmers (TOFARM) was launched a few days ago by the Junior Chamber International (JCI) Philippines and Universal Harvester, Inc. (UHI). It was held in a prestigious recognition program for the most noteworthy achievers in various categories of the farming sector.

Revived last year to acknowledge the increasingly important role that the farming sector has played in boosting the economy, and to inspire more young people to turn to agriculture as a livelihood, TOFARM 2013 wants to identify more unsung heroes in the fields, seas and urban areas from North Luzon to Southern Mindanao.

The nationwide awards program will cite best practices of public and private entities engaged in traditional or modern farming that includes fisherfolk, animal raisers, cooperatives, farm communities, organizations, scientists, the academe, LGUs and public employees, as well as business entities in rural and urban areas.

Last year, the Aloha Natural Farm in Sta. Monica Heights in Puerto Princesa was selected as one of the TOFARM awardees among 111 entries nationwide.

This year’s TOFARM has added a new category – the Woman Farmer – in the annual search.

“This is to recognize the growing number of women, who have carved names for themselves in various agricultural fronts and who have brought recognition to the country through their individual or collective endeavors,” said Rommel Cunanan, TOFARM Project chairman.

Another important goal of the program is to foster the steady increase of youth venturing into the agriculture sector.

“This is really rewarding and lucrative field, and if our youth are really the hope of the fatherland as Dr. Jose Rizal said, they should go into farming to ensure the steady flow of generations who will assure us of adequate and sustainable food supply,” Cunanan added.

The JCI has partnered with Universal Harvester to make sure that farmers continue to be motivated towards excellence and that they receive the recognition that they deserve.

“Universal Harvester through its Executive Vice President Milagros Ong How has been tireless in its effort to support farmers and educate them on ways to have better yields and results. We are both concerned about the improvement of conditions for the farmer and better urban-rural relations through a keener understanding of agricultural concerns,” said Ryan C. Ravanzo, JCI president.

For her part, Ong How said “TOFARM 2012 only scratched the surface in identifying farmers with best practices and extraordinary achievements. In TOFARM 2013 we want to explore new territories and discover other achievers that have not yet been recognized for their contributions to our country.

She said that this year, we want to widen the search to include outstanding women farmers. This is probably why we are launching TOFARM 2013 on International Woman’s Month.”

UHI, a progressive Filipino company established in 2003, is involved in the direct manufacturing, local distribution and exportation of a number of world-class quality fertilizers.

TOFARM will give out 12 awards this year: seven in the individual category and five in the group category. These are: Farmer, Fisherfolk, Livestock, Agri-Entrepreneur, Young Farmer, Agricultural Innovator, Urban/City Farmer and Woman Farmer in the individual category; and Agriculture Cooperative, Family Farmer, Local Government Unit, Agriculture Initiatives and People’s Choice in the group category.

The nomination period for the TOFARM candidates began March and will end on September 2013. Validation and judging of nominees will take place in, while the awarding takes place in December.

Nominations may be submitted as hard copy or sent online to Nomination forms may be downloaded from the website. (PNA)

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