Awards seen to encourage youth to become farmers

KIDAPAWAN CITY (MindaNews/April 15) – The Junior Chamber International (JCI) launched Monday in this city the search for Ten Outstanding Farmers of the Philippines (TOFARM), an initiative that aims to inspire the young to turn to agriculture as their livelihood.

JCI national chair Rommel Cunanan said many of the young are focused on white collar jobs, and those who graduate from agriculture are reluctant to go into farming because many [farmers] have remained poor.

“This program intends to help the agriculture sector recover. First, it aims to encourage the youth to carry on the work of their parents as farmers. Second, those who are not in the agriculture sector can make this an alternative,” he said in Filipino.

He said he believes going into agriculture can help solve the unemployment problem.

He said they set simple requirements for the TOFARM search as they are only looking for ordinary farmers who can do “simple yet productive” farming, which will inspire others, especially the young, to do the same.

Cunanan said the message of TOFARM is to tell to the public that agriculture is a noble profession. “I hope that within the family farming will remain to be valued.”

“Government said production is good. Maybe next year we’ll become self-sufficient. Let’s help the government in disseminating this through the social media,” he said.

Aside from JCI, the search for outstanding farmers is sponsored by Universal Harvester Inc., a fertilizer manufacturing and exporting firm.

The search is also open to fisher folk, livestock raisers, cooperatives, farm communities, organizations, scientists, academe, women farmers, local government units and public employees, and business entities in rural and urban areas.

The sponsors will give 12 awards this year: seven in the individual category and five in the group category.

The nomination period for outstanding farmer candidates has begun this month and will end on September 30, 2014. Awarding is on November this year. Winners will receive citations and cash. (MindaNews)