PIA Western Mindanao
by Dominic Sanchez
ZAMBOANGA CITY, June 29(PIA) Millions of farmers live in poverty in spite of being part of the multi-billion peso agriculture industry. The 12th Bright Leaf Agriculture Journalism Awards aims to bring this and similar issues to the public eye by honoring outstanding works of journalism focused on agricultural stories.
Bayen Elero-Tinga, External Affairs Director for Philip Morris Fortune Tobacco Corporation (PMFTC), said in a meeting with local media on Tuesday (June 26) that about 12 million or one-third of the Filipino population is involved in the multi-billion peso agriculture industry. She shared approximately 5,000 farmers are in the tobacco industry alone, yet majority of the 12 million are poor farmers all over the countryside.
“There is a lot of room for improvement in agriculture. Promoting agricultural growth will in turn promote economic growth. There is so much opportunity not just for the farmers, but for other industries as well,” she said.
Elero-Tinga cited the development potential of individual communities down to the farmers themselves in agricultural regions such as Zamboanga Peninsula. This potential can only be achieved if decision-makers zoom in to issues that need urgent intervention through a variety of programs, projects and services.
“We want to bring agriculture in the front and center so that the public will know about its importance, how it is now, and what needs to be done to improve it,” she said.
The prestigious Bright Leaf Awards is held every year by PMFTC. Last year, 600 entries were submitted. Journalists 18 years old and above are qualified, with published agricultural pieces that may either be photos, news or feature stories, and broadcast news and stories. This year, the Best Online Story has been added as an official category.
Prizes include trips to Asian destinations, cash and gadgets.
Interested applicants are invited to like www.facebook.com/brightleafawards for more information. Submission of entries is only until September 1. (ALT/DIS/PIA9-Zamboanga City)