By Analiza S. Macatangay
NAGA CITY — Inching forward to encourage the youth to venture to agriculture and be the next producers of our staple food, the Junior Chamber International Philippines (JCIP) and the Universal Harvester, Incorporated launched Friday the Search for The Outstanding Farmers of the Philippines (TOFARM) at the Naga Regent Hotel here.
TOFARM national chairman Rommel Cunanan said the awards program endeavors to institutionalize this initiative and achieve private and public sector participation in the annual search and award and establish a much wide scope and reach.
This is to also safeguard the interest and welfare of the agriculture sector, according to Cunanan.
“It is ironic that while they are dubbed as the producers of our food yet they remain to be among the poorest sectors in the country.
JCIP encourages the family of every farmer to follow their forefathers’ steps and be among the most innovative farmers in our generation. We are also enjoining other private sectors to join us in this advocacy,” Cunanan said in an interview with the members of the local media.
The awards program for farmers has been an initiative of the said organization since 1970s that recognizes the resiliency, ingenuity and the strength of our hardworking Filipino farmers.
“The program is anchored in promoting farming in the youth sectors in all regions, including here in Camarines Sur. Everybody is invited, from the public to the private stakeholders in agriculture, fisheries and livestock,” Cunanan added.
Cunanan also said that they are going to focus on two major activities once everything is already in place: one, is the direct intervention training for the farmers which would include seminars on transforming their attitude and financial management and two, lakbay aral activities. This, he said will be a tripartite collaboration amongst the agriculture sector, government and the private sector.
The program includes the following categories: Farmers who are engaged in the planting and production of rice, corn, coconut, sugarcane, organic and high value crops; fisherfolks, livestock, agri-entrepreneurs including private entrepreneur, trader and businessmen; woman farmer, young farmer with age ranging from 18 to 40 years old and agriculture innovator which includes educator or inventor, scientists, public employees and the like.
Other categories include Urban/City farmers (farms should be located in cities only), agriculture cooperatives, family farmer, local government unit (programs and projects and facilities are operated by the LGU) and agriculture initiatives (private organizations, non-government organizations, institutions).
A People’s Choice category was also added where the winner will be determined via an online poll. The winner shall be solely based on the number of votes garnered through the TOFARM Website.
Lucky winners for the individual category will receive P50,000.00 cash while the Group Category winners will take home P100,000.00 each. Aside from the cash prize, the winners will also receive the iconic 18’ TOFARM plate.
JCIP is now accepting nomination and entries. Submission will be until July 31. Tentative awarding is slated in September 2013.
By Analiza S. Macatangay
The Department of Science and Technology in Bicol (DOST-5) and the Libmanan Pulantuna Planters Federation, Inc. (LPPFI) recently inked a memorandum of agreement (MOA) in support of the implementation of the project, “Development of Hybrid Weather Monitoring System and Production of Weather and Rain Automated Stations.”
The project is the main component of the Nationwide Operational Assessment of Hazards, popularly called Project NOAH.
The partnership is in line with government’s campaign for a “zero” casualty during times of calamity and occurrences of disaster, said Agustin III Z. Villadares, LPPFI president and chief executive officer.
The agreement will bind DOST and LPPFI to a commitment of supporting the establishment and operation of the weather instrument and equipment critical in establishing accurate data on real-time weather situation prevailing in the locality. The accuracy of these readings will mean saving more lives and less damage to the community’s property.
“A prepared and knowledge-equipped community will always rise up after every calamity. Our primordial concern is the safety of our loved ones and the community and lesser, if no damage at all to our properties and sources of livelihood – we can beat disaster with preparedness,” Villadares said in an interview.
Stipulated in the MOA is DOST’s prime obligation of implementing the project, in coordination with the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) and to facilitate and coordinate the identification of appropriate site for the automated rain gauges (ARG) and Automated Water Level Monitoring Stations (AWLMS), including its installation in agreed sites in Camarines Sur.
The LPPFI on the other hand, will facilitate the conduct of Information Educational Campaign (EIC) in the province on Project NOAH and help in the interpretation of data generated by the weather monitoring stations during the conduct of community-based trainings and meetings within their coverage area.
Villadares also assured its partner that they will enhance the stakeholders’ capacity by instituting related trainings among their members. In fact, he said, the computer literacy project was already in place.
“This literacy project in computer which operates TESDA-accredited training facility known as Agricultural Extension Computer Education Laboratory or A-ExCEL is a basic computer education designed to teach farm families on the use of computer. In this current world, we need to update them with the latest innovation so that they too, will be competitive in the market place,” Villadares added.
The partnership is expected to lessen if not totally eliminate the devastating impact of any calamity in the future.
AFTER the planting of the 30,000th pili, signalling the end of Pilimania’s initial phase , the city has turned its sights on a beautification project dubbed Buskad Burak sa Barangay, which if successful, will see in Naga the blooming of thousands of flowers.
The beautification project, which, like Pilimania, will be carried out with multi-sector participation, was conceptualized to achieve physical changes in the city’s image by filling up the city thoroughfares or vacant lots with flowers of the golden lantana or dwarf pandakaki species.
Based on the plan, highways and entry points- even small vacant spaces such as the center of rotundas along Magsaysay Avenue, Panganiban Drive, Concepcion Pequeña and Roxas Avenue will be made to teem with forget me nots and variegated lantana flowers.
Included in the plan is the construction in the middle part of Kinastillohan Street of a fountain festooned with attractive flowering plants on its sides. The middle portion of the road will be expanded on both sides to continuously accommodate a two-way traffic of vehicles.
According to Mike Rico, project officer of the Buskad Burak sa Barangay, everyone in this city will have the opportunity to commune with nature and be able to get that soothing feeling in the comfortsof blooming colourful and pretty flowers. Naga has been recognized as one of the most improved cities in Asia and dubbed as among the most liveable in the country.
Naga City First Lady Farah R. Bongat said, “Aside from making efforts to achieve beautiful surroundings, we wish to engage in worthwhile activities such as this one [Buskad Burak] that allows us also to balance our prioritiesbetween beautifying our place and showing care and concern for the environment while doing our best to improving our local economy.”
Pilimania is one of such undertakings spearheaded by the city government under the administration of Mayor John G. Bongatalong with other sectors of the society. With the planting of 30,000 pili trees the local government expects that it can help boost the pili industry under the city’s one barangay one product program and achieve its environmental target to improve the city’s air-sheds and air quality.
Ms. Farah who chairs the Pilimania executive committee, is in the forefront of the Buskad Burak sa Barangay along with her colleagues and partners in the Pilimania.
Pilimania has recently concluded its planting season last November 2012 with the planting of the 30,000th pili by the city mayor at the ground-breaking rites for the waste-to-energy facility in Brgy. San Isidro.
BBB will be formally launched on February 14, this year, at the City Hall Compound with representatives from different sectors of society. On the last week of February, a mass planting of flowering plants will be conducted at the open spaces of the Naga City People’s Mall and Oragon Park.