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JCI Philippines, Universal Harvester launch The Outstanding Farmers Awards 2012

JCI Philippines and Universal Harvester, Inc. (UHI) today launched the search and awards for TOFARM 2012 -- The Outstanding Farmers of the Philippines recognition program -- for the most noteworthy achievers and achievements in the agriculture sector of 2012.

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The nationwide awards program cites the achievements of both public and private entities engaged in farming and includes traditional and modern farmers, fisherfolk, animal raisers, cooperatives, farm communities, organizations, scientists, the academe, LGUs and public employees, as well as business entities in rural and urban areas.

The Awards Program is the special tribute set aside by the Junior Chamber International-Philippines for the agricultural sector which is seen to still be the main driver of the country’s development.

Its main goal, according to JCI Philippines National President Randolf Ivan Ruste, is to foster the steady increase of youth venturing into the agriculture sector, invigorating investment and scientific advancement to achieve sustainable food supply.

Ruste said JCI partnered with Universal Harvester this year to pursue the program last held in 2003. “We have found our perfect fit in pursuing our common vision of helping the Filipino farmer in Universal Harvester,” Ruste said. “We are both concerned about the improvement of conditions for the farmer and are working together for better urban-rural relations through a keener understanding of agricultural concerns.”

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UHI, a progressive Filipino company, is involved in the direct manufacturing, local distribution and exportation of a number of world-class quality fertilizers. “We are passionately pursuing our mission of reviving Philippine agriculture by promoting farming as a noble, lucrative profession and a key pillar in nation building,” said Mrs. Milagros Ong-How, UHI Executive Vice President. “Through these Awards, we also want to excite rural and urban youth about farming. We want them to see it as a viable, highly rewarding career and a great way to help their country.”

The UHI lady executive said her dream is for the Filipino youth to go back to the land and revive its promise besides just aspiring towards high-paying jobs in the city.

“Today’s farmer faces both great challenges and wonderful opportunities. With assistance, they can turn the agriculture sector around so it can fulfill its main goal of achieving food sustainability for present and future generations. Many farmers now are entrepreneurs engaged in agribusiness that deals with various aspects of farming, including technology, farm implements, fertilizers and insecticides that will raise the volume and quality of crops while taking care not to violate environmental regulations. There is a bright future for the youth in farming,” Mrs. How added.

TOFARM will give out 11 awards this year, said TOFARM Project Chairman Rommel Cunanan : six in the individual category and five in the group category. These are : Farmer, Fisherfolk, Livestock, Agri-Entrepreneur, Young Farmer, Agricultural Innovator and Urban/City 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 August 1and will end on September 30. Validation and Judging of nominees will take place in October and November, 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.

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