East-West Seed honors 40 ‘farmer-heroes’

Forty vegetable farmers were hailed as ‘farmer-heroes’ by leading tropical vegetable seed company East-West Seed to mark its 40 years of “Growing a Healthier Tomorrow” in a ceremony that took place in Lime Hotel, Pasay City on 7 October.

The 40 “farmer-heroes” from Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao were recognized by East-West Seed for achieving success in vegetable farming, making significant contributions to their communities, and demonstrating innovativeness in adopting new technologies in farming.

“At East-West Seed, we believe that the farmers are our heroes. Because of their hard work we have something to eat every day. We want to give our farmers the honor and recognition that they truly deserve,” said East-West Seed Philippines general manager Jay Lopez.

The company also sees these 40 farmer-heroes as role models to other people in showing how vegetable farming can enrich lives.

“Since I planted Macho sweet corn, my life has become sweeter too and because of sweet corn, I got many firsts – first time to go to Manila, get on a plane, sleep at the Shangri-La Hotel, have my own car. The things I never dreamed of, the things I thought that would only come true in my dreams, became a reality because of God’s mercy and sweet corn,” said Rubisper Udal from Bukidnon, one of the 40 farmer-hero awardees.

Lopez said that through the farmer-heroes’ success stories, they hope to inspire others to choose vegetable farming as their careers.

Meantime, over 40 different types of East-West Seed vegetable varieties and flowers were displayed in the demo field day of East-West Seed in its research center in Lipa City, Batangas.

Aside from the company’s top varieties that have helped increase the income of farmers for many years, the demo field also included exciting and unique vegetable varieties such as Morado purple corn, Sophia butternut pumpkin, and Ilocana short ampalaya.

“Most of our vegetable seed varieties are bred here in the Philippines to ensure that they will grow well under our country’s growing conditions, address Filipino farmers’ needs, and suit the taste and preferences of the Filipino consumers. Our varieties also give higher yield and are more resistant to pests and diseases,” said Lopez.

East-West Seed was founded in Lipa City, Batangas in 1982 by Filipino seed trader Benito Domingo and Dutch seedsman and World Food Prize Laureate 2019 Simon Groot. The company has expanded to 14 other countries in Asia, Africa, and Latin America and has served over 23 million farmers worldwide.

“The world will need an additional 730 million tons of fruits and vegetables by 2050 with the predicted population growth. We need to help our smallholder farmers and encourage more people, especially the youth, to go into the agriculture sector to meet this growing food demand,” said Lopez.

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