Young farmer-agripreneur and AGREA president Cherrie Atilano takes on a new challenge after being named Ambassador on Food Security by Agriculture Secretary William Dar.
As an ambassador, Atilano who was already into farming at the early age of 12, will campaign for advocacies of the Department of Agriculture towards the attainment of a food-secure and resilient Philippines with prosperous farmers and fishers.
“When I was young, I saw the sad plight of the sugarcane growers and other food producers in Negros Occidental. I thought how ironic the situation was when they (the food producers) have nothing to eat most of the time. And so that’s when I started to teach intensive gardening,” she narrated.
And so instead of buying from the markets, the young Atilano taught the sugarcane farmers to grow their own food by planting vegetables.
“I knew then that my path was in agriculture. I wanted to help, in my little way, provide food for the Filipino family,” she said.
With her new assignment, Atilano will help the DA encourage the younger Filipinos to take action and participate in more initiatives for the development of Philippine agriculture.
She will also focus on initiatives to influence overseas Filipino workers, retirees, and hobbyists to engage in agribusiness and other related enterprises, within the food supply chain.
“I am very excited to be part of a team that really looks into the welfare of our kababayan.”
“I am very excited to be part of a team that really looks into the welfare of our kababayan, young and old, regardless of gender,” Atilano said.
She will also campaign who a bigger participation and recognition of women in agriculture.
“Rural women have proven that they are essential partners in various agricultural and fishery activities.”
“For many years, rural women have proven that they are essential partners in various agricultural and fishery activities. Its cliché I know, pero kung kaya ng lalaki, kaya na rin po ng babae. Kaya dapat lang na kilalanin natin ang kanilang kontribusyon sa food security,” Atilano said.
Alongside, actor and urban agriculture advocate James Reid, Atilano will share her time and knowledge in promoting sustainable agriculture systems and towards a mechanized and industrialized sector.
“I thank Secretary Dar for trusting me with this responsibility. Rest assured that I will use my voice and utilize every platform available to promote and encourage more Filipinos to be part of the national campaign for Food Security,” she said.