N. Cotabato farmer wins search for Outstanding Farmer of the Philippines

February 23, 2015 7:45 am 

By Edwin O. Fernandez

MIDSAYAP, North Cotabato, Feb. 22 (PNA) — It pays to be very innovative, have passion for work, positive outlook in life and dedication to excel.

These are the characteristics of a farmer-entrepreneur from the remote village of this town who won the Search for Outstanding Farmer of the Philippines (TOFARM) National Gold Award 2014.

Lucresia Neri of Barangay Poblacion 7 here, who started a business from herbal products in 2010, gave another honor for North Cotabato for winning the award.

In a statement, the North Cotabato provincial government said Neri started her business with only a mortar, a pestle and PhP150 cash on hand.

Neri bested three other finalists of the search for Agri-Entrepreneur Individual Category, namely: Alberto C. Calsada of Ilocos Norte, Abraham A. Flores of Isabela, and Troy D. Bumagat of Ormoc, Leyte.

She joined other winners in the categories of Urban/City Farmer, Livestock, Farming, Fisher Folk, Family Farming, Agri-Initiatives, Agri-Cooperative, Local Government Unit, Young Farmer, Women Farmer and other class in the awarding ceremony held at the Makati Shangri-La Hotel, Makati City over the weekend.

North Cotabato Provincial Agriculturist Eliseo M. Mangliwan, Senior Agriculturist Lucita Daval and personnel from Municipal Agriculturist’s Office of Midsayap attended the awarding ceremony in support to Neri.

Neri is the owner-manufacturer of Manna’s Alternative Herbal Products which has emerged as a strong local brand of herbal products in Cotabato.

Her herbal plantation is located in the village Central Bulanan, Midsayap and has a display center of herbal medicines in Poblacion 2, Midsayap.

She received a cash prize of PhP50,000, trophy and Certificate of Recognition from TOFARM.

North Cotabato Gov. Emmylou Mendoza lauded the award giving body and said with Neri emerging as the winner was a proof that farmers in the province continue to be more highly productive and competitive.

“We maintain a wide support to our farmers and we want to institutionalize and make this as a best practice in our pursuit of agricultural excellence,” she said.

"We are also always committed to uplift the lives of our farmers that’s why we motivate them to give their best always,” she added.

She was pleased to inform the public of the extensive agricultural programs and support to farmers in the province such as seedling and fingerling dispersal, farmers’ training and other assistance, including the effective implementation of downloaded projects from government line agencies.

TOFARM, an annual nationwide search for outstanding farmers, is spearheaded by the Junior Chamber of International Philippines (JCIP) and Universal Harvester Inc. (UHI).

It was first launched in the 1970s by JCIP and was revived in 2012 by the JCIP and the UHI to give recognition to farmers who have outstanding performances but were never credited for their big contributions.

JCIP and UHI also see the TOFARM as initiative to strengthen farming as a profession.

TOFARM also gives special awards and special citations to agricultural groups aside from individual farmers for their accomplishments and the impact of change and development they brought to the community. (PNA)

SCS/NYP/EOF

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