Thursday, March 14, 2013

TOFARM 2013 - The Search And Awards For The Outstanding Farmers Of The Philippines.

     What an inspiring day! having attended the launching of TOFARM 2013 – The Search and Awards for the Outstanding Farmers of the Philippines.
"We cannot take what we did not sow" quoited Ms Milagros Ong How, of Universal Harvester.

TOFARM 2013 launched, seeks more outstanding farmers to recognize nationwide
The Philippine Jaycees (JCI Philippines) and Universal Harvester, Inc. (UHI) launched its second consecutive search for outstanding Filipino farmers today at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Makati in the 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 and 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. 
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 a 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 ensure us of adequate and sustainable food supply,” Cunanan added. 
JCI has partnered with Universal Harvester long term to make sure that farmers continue to be motivated towards excellence and that they receive the recgnition that they deserve. “Universal Harvester through its Executive Vice President Milagros Ong How has been tireless in its efforts 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, UHI’s Mrs. Milagros 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 who have not yet been recognized for their contributions to our country. 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 Outstanding Farmer candidates begins in 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 www.tofarm.org Nomination forms may be downloaded from the website.

SPEECH – MILAGROS ONG HOW
TOFARM 2013 MEDIA LAUNCH
March 14, 2013 Ballroom C, Mandarin Oriental Hotel

(Acknowledgement of distinguished guests)
USEC. BERNADETTE ROMULO-PUYAT- Department of Agriculture
USEC. AUSTERE A. PANADERO – Department of Interior and Local Government
USEC. Demetrio L. Ignacio - Department of Environment and Natural Resources
USEC. Jerry E. Pacturan- Department of Agrarian Reform

Good morning, everyone. Thank you very much for joining us this morning for the launching of TOFARM 2013 – the search and awards for the country’s outstanding farmers for Year 2013.

As you may know, the Junior Chamber International Philippines revived this search last year in partnership with our company, Universal Harvester Incorporated, to pay tribute to farmers and the entire agricultural sector. So this is the second consecutive year that we are doing this. And we look forward to doing it for many more years to come.

I cannot begin to tell you how rewarding and heartwarming our experience has been in going around the country to identify individual farmers, groups of farmers and farming institutions all over the country that are a real credit to our agricultural sector-- from Luzon to Visayas to Mindanao.

We were very happy to find Filipino farmers whose achievements and contributions were truly world-class. We were very pleased with the products, systems and innovations that they were capable of sharing. And we were most happy toconfirm that our farmer folk are some of the noblest, most self-sacrificing and heroic Filipinos we can find. Because aren’t they unsung heroes who, day in and day out, bear the sun and rain, toil in the fields, conquer soul-testing challenges and do their utmost best to put food on our tables?

It is for this reason that we launched TOFARM 2013. Because besides the men, women and organizations that we identified and recognized last year, we know that there are many more out there that need recognition and gratitude for their contributions. TOFARM 2012 created excitement among farmers and groups involved in the agricultural sector because finally, farmers now know that some one is paying attention to what they are doing. Farmers are gratified that through TOFARM, they can show the rest of the country what new and exciting things are happening in agriculture, and that they – in their little way – are making big contributions to our lives and our economy.

This year we launched TOFARM 2013 much earlier than we did TOFARM 2012. This is to give us more time to go around the country and find more candidates worthy to be recognized and feted. This year we are also introducing a new category – the Outstanding Woman Farmer Category – to acknowledge the growing role that women are playing in the sector and to broader society as a whole.

It is our hope that by doing TOFARM again, we can attract more people –especially the young – to take up agriculture and make it their main source of livelihood. Because of the technology and innovations now available in this sector, together with the many opportunities opening up in both traditional and non-traditional farming, there is a lot of growth to be expected in this field.

Each year we hope to do this search so that we can set high standards for practitioners that will benefit our country’s development as a whole.

But we and the farmers cannot achieve growth and development alone. We will need the help of media to spread the good news and to get more people interested in what’s happening. That is why we would like to seek your support in disseminating information about TOFARM 2013 until the next awards ceremony. Ultimately our goal is to make our country competitive on a global scale,for our farmers to produce more so that we can become self sufficient in food and provide sustenance for all.

As an agricultural economy, farming is our natural livelihood Filipinos. Let us do what we can to achieve excellence in this field because it is our natural birth right.

Please help us to inspire more men and women to strive towards excellence in this most basic of livelihoods.

Thank you for supporting TOFARM just by being here. Mabuhay tayong lahat!
Mabuhay ang magsasakang Pilipino!

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