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๐Š๐–๐ˆ๐Š๐†๐‘๐Ž ๐Ž๐”๐“๐’๐“๐€๐๐ƒ๐ˆ๐๐† ๐…๐€๐‘๐Œ๐„๐‘๐’

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By GODFREY T. DANCEL

Photography by EDWIN DIAZ

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Attaining food security is a major concern in the country today, but we have what it takes to solve the problem. This, in a nutshell, is the major takeaway from KwikGro Fertilizersโ€™ 2023 Outstanding Farmers & Young Farmers Awards ceremonies held in Vintar, Ilocos Norte, last April 15. Thirteen adult and 12 young farmers from Ilocos Norte received plaques in recognition of their โ€œoustanding productivity, genuine concern for the environment, openness to innovative solutions, and awareness of [their] role in the
development of the communityโ€ and ensuring โ€œfood security for all Filipinos.โ€ Each awardee also received a cash incentive, a box of KwikGroโ€™s Booster Plus Liquid Fertilizer, and a knapsack battery sprayer.

KwikGro founder and President Eliel Corpuz thanked the adult farmers who continue to till the land. He likewise expressed gratitude to the youngsters who have chosen to do the same. He noted that less and less young Filipinos are willing to go into farming, but nonetheless expressed confidence that with help from KwikGro and the government, more and more young Ilocanos will choose to be farmers.

๐“๐Ž๐–๐€๐‘๐ƒ ๐…๐Ž๐Ž๐ƒ ๐’๐„๐‚๐”๐‘๐ˆ๐“๐˜
KwikGro Vice President Atty. Arthur Corpuz echoed Mr. Corpuzโ€™s sentiments. He said that with 110 million Filipinos, attaining food security is a problem we are faced with. โ€œThe good news,โ€ he said, however, is that โ€œwe have the key assets to address the issue.โ€ Atty. Corpuz identified farmers, agricultural land, and
efficacious fertilizers such as KwikGro Liquid Fertilizer as the answer to attaining food security. Despite the rising average age of Filipino farmersโ€”now at 57 years, much higher than the global average of 37 years, per the International Fund for Agricultural Developmentโ€”there are still about 1.2 million Filipino farmers who are โ€œwilling to continue fulfilling their role in the community, which is to produce food.โ€ He said that with this many farmers tilling almost seven million hectares of agricultural land in the country and using fertilizers suitable for their crops, each farmer can produce enough in order to feed 100 persons per day.

Mr. Corpuz meanwhile stressed that the fertilizer he himself formulated is a product comparable to more expensive imported ones. He likewise thanked โ€œthose senior citizens who are about to become KwikGro distributors in Northern Luzon.โ€ KwikGro fertilizers have been proven effective in enhancing growth and yield of rice crops in Fertilizer and Pesticides Authority (FPA)-approved tests at the University of the Philippines Los Baรฑos (UPLB). These have also been proven safe for use by farmers. Farmers from different parts of the country have attested to the efficacy of KwikGro products and how these have helped improve their harvest.

๐‡๐ˆ๐†๐‡๐‹๐ˆ๐†๐‡๐“๐ˆ๐๐† ๐๐”๐๐‹๐ˆ๐‚-๐๐‘๐ˆ๐•๐€๐“๐„ ๐๐€๐‘๐“๐๐„๐‘๐’๐‡๐ˆ๐
The awarding ceremonies was attended not just by farmers and their families but also by local officials of Vintar led by Mayor Richard Degala, Vice Mayor Maribel Albano, and Municipal Agriculturist Dr. Myrna Simon. Degala thanked the KwikGro president for the help he has been giving not just to Vintareรฑo farmers but to the townโ€™s senior citizens and schoolchildren as well. In exclusive interviews with LEAGUE, Simon and a number of awardees shared their sentiments about KwikGroโ€™s efforts to help farmers in Ilocos Norte.
Simon expressed gratitude to KwikGro for helping the municipal government in its agriculture-related
programs by giving free fertilizers and sponsoring activities such as the Farmersโ€™ Day celebration. โ€œKwikGro has significantly helped in enabling the municipal agriculture office to fulfil its mandate,โ€ she revealed. โ€œInputs are costly, and agricultural produce can only be sold at a low price. That is why
KwikGro is always welcome to extend whatever help they could. The farm demonstrations they conduct are a big help in making farmers realize how effective their products are compared to those of other companies.โ€ Lone female awardee Elizabeth Benemerito of Pagudpud attested to the efficacy of KwikGro products and the company leadershipโ€™s passion to help Ilocano farmers. โ€œTheir products are a big help to us and I want to continue using these,โ€she shared. She advised farmers to treat farming as a business, and emphasized the importance of knowing how to manage their farm properly. โ€œIf there are green practices
and green products like KwikGro that could help the environment, lessen cost and lessen negative effects on the environment, then try to use them. When coupled with new technology, these could help increase income.โ€ Danver V. dela Cruz of Dingras town shared that with KwikGroโ€™s efforts to help farmers in the province, more and more farmers could have better opportunities to improve their lot and that of others. Such help, coupled with government support, would go a long way, he said. โ€œGovernment support is
available. It depends on the leadership of farmer organizations; how diligent they are in asking for government support, and how ready their local officials are. Assistance given by private groups and businesses also encourages young farmers to continue with their efforts to help their community and the
whole country.โ€

๐“๐Ž๐–๐€๐‘๐ƒ ๐…๐Ž๐Ž๐ƒ ๐’๐„๐‚๐”๐‘๐ˆ๐“๐˜
The event, which had LEAGUE as one of its media partners, highlighted the importance of the role of young farmers in attaining food security. Nineteen-year-old awardee John Mc Klein Castro chose to engage in agriculture at a young age. โ€œI started farming at 12 years old,โ€he told LEAGUE. โ€œI would help my parents in different farm chores in the afternoon, after classes.โ€ The second year Bachelor of Science in Agriculture student at Mariano Marcos State University in the City of Batac says that he โ€œchose to
continue farming even while studying so that I could help solve the countryโ€™s food security concerns. I am able to apply what I learn in school.โ€ Castro revealed that he uses new products and modern technology not only to ensure their familyโ€™s livelihood, but also to encourage other youngsters in the province to go into farming. โ€œIn the past, we had to contend with the lack of equipment and suitable yield-enhancing products. Thanks to KwikGro, we now have not only suitable products and equipment, but also knowledge which we can use to have a better harvest.โ€ โ€œFarming involves taking chances,โ€ dela Cruz added. โ€œNo matter how hardworking you are if a typhoon or flood strikes, your crops could be damaged. Unlike natural calamities, however, farmers could prevent stunting and low crop yield by using products like KwikGro Liquid Fertilizer.โ€ Like Castro, dela Cruz is also determined to do his share in erasing misconceptions about farming. โ€œI am willing to share my experiences with other farmers, especially young
farmers,โ€ he declared. โ€œI am planning to [avail of training opportunities] so that later on I could share my knowledge with other farmers. I want to prove to the younger generation that being a farmer is not hard, and that farmers could rise above poverty and have prosperous lives.โ€

๐‹๐Ž๐Ž๐Š๐ˆ๐๐† ๐…๐Ž๐‘๐–๐€๐‘๐ƒ
KwikGro officials pledged to continue helping Ilocano farmers by ensuring access to โ€œsafe, effective, and affordable fertilizers to attain food security, have a cleaner environment, and elevate the socio-economic standing of farmers.โ€ As KwikGro continues to expand its reach to other areas of Northern Luzon, the company management is also thinking of expanding the coverage of its search for outstanding farmers. This could only mean better opportunities for more Filipino farmers.

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