Successful businessman and former mayor of Javier, Leyte, Leonardo “Sandy” Javier Jr. has been tapped as the chairman of this year’s edition of the country’s premier international trade exhibition on agriculture, food, and aquaculture — the 26th Agrilink, Foodlink, and Aqualink. The triple event will be held from October 3 to 5 at the World Trade Center, Pasay City. Javier, whom many fondly considers as the “Father of Litson Manok,” will lead the exhibition, supported by the Department of Agriculture (DA) and its regional units and allied agencies, such as the Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (PhilMech), Agricultural Marketing and Assistance Services (AMAS), and Agricultural Training Institute (ATI).

Javier’s entrepreneurial expertise and his particular advocacy for agriculture will help Agrilink in providing stakeholders, consumers, and farmers a better understanding of how diverse, yet climate change-resilient supply and value chains help address increasingly-changing consumer demands while keeping our agricultural industry globally competitive.

Javier noted how diversification and value-adding can help farmers, especially those in the coconut sector, transition from subsistence farming to profitable agribusiness, as exemplified not only by his main business, the popular Andok’s Litson, but also through the Javier municipality in Leyte, where he served as mayor for three terms. Javier has so far seven hectares of cacao model farm that also serves as a site for farmers who are then trained cacao farming and afterward given cacao seedlings shipped from Davao for them to plant. Javier’s coconut farms are also intercropped with other crops such as bananas (lakatan), dragon fruit, native chili (labuyo), tomato, watermelon, and ginger. The municipality also has ventures in vermiculture and carabao dairying. In fact, tufting machines will soon be commissioned for a coconut coir processing plant. Coconut husks sourced from the farmers are processed into fiber, which can then be used to produce mats and carpets that will then be sold locally and abroad.

These projects, Javier said, aims to lessen the farmers’ dependence on copra for their
livelihood, as well as commercialize the municipality’s agricultural sector by diversifying their products. Javier also said that by adding more value to their staple products, it can help spur the farmers’ business acumen by transforming them into entrepreneurs and ultimately make the municipality a pioneer in agribusiness.

In a farm visit in Royal Maverick Ranch (RMR) in Rosario, Batangas, which he also oversees, Javier demonstrated a variety of high-value crops such as jackfruit, bell peppers, and dragon fruit, many of which are either nurtured in greenhouses or intercropped with coconut trees. There was also a demo farm planted with a variety of dwarf corn that forms ears or cobs as early as three weeks. The variety’s lowered height can help mitigate losses, as it can better withstand strong winds that often accompany typhoons. RMR, while a thoroughbred horse breeding farm, also has poultry (broiler and duck), ruminant, and native pig farms.

Javier added that a holistic approach to value-adding and crop diversification can help the agricultural industry, especially Eastern Visayas’ coconut sector, become more dynamic and adaptable to the ever-changing market demands while also improving the farmers’ livelihood. “I am happy to be a part of Agrilink and its advocacy of helping farmers and fisherfolk create their own profitable agribusinesses. I am also glad to be part of an event, which, for more than two decades, has been serving as a venue for government agencies, local and international stakeholders, farmers, fisherfolk, entrepreneurs, and consumers to create and strengthen linkages that will help sustain our agricultural industry.

Aside from featuring a variety of agricultural products and services, Agrilink 2019 will also highlight the most up-to-date and groundbreaking inputs, technologies, and alliances that can enhance the profitability of the interdependent industries of agriculture, aquaculture and food. The three-day event will include free seminars, live animal and plant display, and other interactive activities that will promote and enhance the potential of different agricultural markets.

For free seminar participation, contact FRLD at (0917) 588-8799, or email frld.agrilink@gmail.com. Visitors can also pre-register their attendance through www.agrilink.org or through its official Facebook page at facebook.com/agrilinkPH.