By RALPH LAUREN ABAINZA
From a youth-led seaweed social enterprise to an innovative dairy farm, Agriculture Magazine’s 25th Anniversary was graced with stories of inspiration about the Philippine agriculture industry during AgriMovers 2022.
“Agriculture Magazine has been inspiring and informing Filipinos about the importance of agriculture and how, with proper planning and strategic sales and marketing, it can be a viable business, since its first issue hit newsstands in 1997. It is now the longest-running and most widely read magazine of its kind in the country, and its website ranks in the Top 10 in its category.” shared by Agriculture Magazine’s editor-in-chief and Manila Bulletin’s agriculture section editor Yvette Tan in her opening remarks.
From its establishment by veteran agrijournalist Zac Sarian in 1997, it continues to feature success stories and useful tips in cultivating crops; raising poultry, livestock, and aquaculture; and growing ornamental plants.
Coinciding with Agriculture Magazine’s 25th anniversary, the AgriMovers celebration was held physically for the first time at the Manila Hotel last October 26, 2022.
AgriMovers is a tri-annual event spearheaded by Agriculture Magazine to honor individuals and organizations who have made a significant positive impact on the Philippine agriculture industry. This year’s edition of Agrimovers honored two inspiring individuals in both the business and community categories, and for the first time, honored agricultural practitioners from the youth sector.
Putting the Philippines on the world map
One of the honorees of the AgriMovers Business category is Francisco “Paco” Magsaysay of Real Fresh Dairy Farms, Inc. in Laguna. Magsaysay developed Carmen’s Best Dairy Products to make use of the milk from the milk farm established by his father and his father’s friends. Their ice cream and dairy products are household names and the company has recently been acquired by an investment company, with the Magsaysays still holding shares to ensure that the quality the company is known for stays the same.
The other honoree is Rex Puentespina of Malagos Agri-Ventures Corporation of Davao City. They collaborate with farmers and train them in good cacao-growing practices. In 2012, Rex started making chocolates, making Malagos one of the only 100 “tree to bar” chocolate producers in the world. Malagos Chocolate and Malagos Farmhouse Cheeses are well known in their respective categories for their high quality and exquisite taste.
Honoring cultures through farming
One of the two honorees for the Community category is Princess Kumalah Sug-Elardo of Sulu Royal Coffee. Through the People’s Alliance for Progress Multi-Purpose Cooperative (PAP-MPC), a cooperative she founded, their locally-grown fine coffee found recognition under the Sulu Royal Coffee brand. Her initiative brought peace and progress to rural war-torn areas of Mindanao by proving that there’s money in agriculture.
The second honoree is Bae Intalawan of Inhanding Tribal Multi-Purpose Cooperative (ITMPC) based in Bukidnon. ITMPC works with different stakeholders to safeguard the forests of Mt. Kitanglad and improve the education of Kitanglad’s indigenous youth. Their quality Arabica coffee, under the name Noble Bean, won in the Arabica category in the Kape Pilipino (KP) Green Coffee Quality Competition, a nationwide cupping competition in 2013.
Transformation in Tawi-Tawi
The first ever honorees in the youth category are sisters Dayang Iman Sahali and Alyssa Sahali Tan who founded Mangan by Iman, a social enterprise from Tawi-Tawi that works with seaweed farmers and their wives to produce seaweed chips.
Part of the proceeds from their social enterprise go towards the education of Badjao children. As support for their inspiring initiative, Mangan by Iman also received PhP 30,000.
The company is not just a model for active youth engagement in agriculture, but also how these endeavors can bring positive change to their community.
The AgriMovers 2022 honorees are inspiring individuals who prove that there’s a future in agriculture.
In his closing remarks, Manila Bulletin publisher Herminio “Sonny” Coloma Jr. highlighted the inspiration the agriculture industry can get from the AgriMovers honorees “who act on ideas while defying obstacles, and challenges and would just move on because they believe in their cause.”
There are still a lot of agricultural stories and wisdom to share, and Agriculture Magazine will always be there as a platform to tell these stories and inspire Filipinos.