Nothing inspires me more and makes me hopeful for the future, than attending an awards ceremony for the people responsible for making our food — the farmers.
Last November 15, 2016, I again attended the awarding ceremony for the country’s outstanding farmers. This year, however, there were more awards categories which provided a more widespread view on who are the others supporting the farmers.
As he said in his message in the Programme Handout, Rommel M. Cunanan, TOFARM Program Director of Universal Harvester Inc. (UHI), this awarding ceremony “is probably the time of the year that we look forward to next to the Christmas holidays. And why ever not?
This is the time when we recognize the hard work of the least acknowledged sector in society.
We put them in a pedestal where they belong because without them, all of us would barely manage to make it through one full day. Imagine going through your daily tasks without a decent meal!”
Cunanan hit the nail right on the head, so to speak. It is hard work to be a farmer in this country of ours. Not only are the farmers least mechanized, they have to labor through the searing son or the flood prone areas of their land.
Theirs is indeed an occupation that depends on the whims of nature. What is also difficult for this sector is that the infrastructure like farm-to-market roads are incomplete and the presence of middle men have made their earnings minimal.
Farming is an occupation which seems to not attract the next generation. Ask those who have lands in the provinces and you will notice that those working out there are mostly senior citizens. Their children are either OFWs or working as domestic helpers in urban areas.
This is why I believe in the TOFARM awards for the recognition UHI gives every year to the least recognized sector of our society. Yet, the role the farmers play in our lives is crucial, as stated earlier.
I would rather patronize the products of our local farmers rather than rely on imported farm produce.
According to Dr. Milagros O. How, Executive Vice President of UHI, “we are always surprised with the things we learn about Filipino farmers.
Their struggles, drive, innovative spirit and dedication never fail to leave us in awe, making the judging process more difficult year after year.
It would have been easier to bestow recognition to all the nominees, but doing so will defeat our thrust to bring out the best among the people who tireless till our soul.”
And the indefatigable lady executive adds that “TOFARM has always been guided by the principle of uplifting the lives of our beloved farmers. We always believe that the building blocks of a progressie country lie in the hands of the people who feed the nation.
With this in mind, it only makes sense that we give credit where it is due.” Well said, Madame executive. Thank you for giving and working hard to raise the awareness of our citizens to give credit where credit is due—to our farmers.