‘Bisaya’ agri-entrepreneur gets UN appointment

By: Cris Evert Lato-Ruffolo October 11,2019 - 07:51 AM

Cherrie Atilano, who finished an Agriculture degree from the Visayas State University, has been appointed as high level ambassador of the United Nations Scaling Up Nutrition Movement. | CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

CEBU CITY, Philippines — Cherrie Atilano, the multi-awarded Filipino agriculturist who advocates to make farming “sexy,” has been appointed by the United Nations (UN) Secretary-General António Guterres, to be a high-level ambassador of the UN Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement.

The SUN Movement is in the forefront in the fight against malnutrition in 60 countries, which include the Philippines.

In a statement, Secretary-General Antonió Guterres appointed Atilano “in recognition of her strong commitment to the fight against malnutrition, as evidenced by her grassroots work towards rural development through sustainable agriculture.”

Atilano is the founding farmer, chief executive officer and president of AGREA, which is described as an innovative and inclusive enterprise founded on fair trade and sustainable agriculture.

It is based in the island-province of Marinduque.

In an interview with CDN Digital, Atilano said AGREA is creating the first replicable model of a one-island economy that is zero hunger, zero waste, and zero insufficiency.

“The principle of the SUN Movement is that ‘everyone has the right to food and nutrition’, and this two should go hand in hand,” said Atilano.

Atilano is a SUN Movement Lead Group member from 2019 to 2021.

Atilano said the SUN movement is a renewed effort to eliminate malnutrition in all its forms, and ensure a world free from malnutrition by 2030.

The movement addresses the problem of 149 million children, who are suffering from malnutrition.

Atilano emphasized that malnutrition has devastating consequences for health, learning, future earning potential, economic development, resilience and security.

“Nutrition is a maker and marker of sustainable development,” she said.

According to Atilano, ending malnutrition in all its forms is essential to unlock the full potential of current and future generations.

It is also a step to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Atilano said this appointment will create a “deep and big impact” as her new role means that she will provide strategic oversight of the movement which include encouraging coherence and collective accountability for the results of the efforts to end malnutrition.

She will support the movement’s 60-member countries as they carry out projects to scale up nutrition.

Atilano, 33, is a native of Silay City in Negros Occidental where she was raised in a farming family.

In 2007, she graduated Magna Cum Laude with a degree in Agriculture major in Horticulture from then Leyte State University’s (now Visayas State University) located in Baybay City, Leyte.

Atilano’s farming experience since her childhood years has helped her promote food security and sustainable agriculture programs.

She has been honored with several awards including The Outstanding Women in the Nation’s Service Award in 2016, Inspiring Filipina Entrepreneur in 2017, The Outstanding Young Men and Women (TOYM) 2018, and first Awardee of Women of the Future Social Entrepreneur in SouthEast Asia.

She sits as an Advisory Board Member of the World Bank Solutions for Youth Employment (S4YE).

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