Knights of the Netherlands defender of Philippine agriculture


In recognition of her tireless dedication in promoting relations between the Netherlands and the Philippines, Dr Mary Ann Pelagio-Sayoc was recently honored with the title of Knight of the Order of Orange-Nassau.

With the award of the prestigious royal decoration, Ambassador Saskia de Lang said: “I am very proud to announce that it is with pleasure that His Majesty King Willem Alexander has bestowed the knighthood on a distinguished personality of the Dutch-Filipino community. It is a recognition of exceptional merit for the Netherlands. “

The two countries have developed close ties in the agro-food sector spanning the areas of trade, investment, agricultural technology and knowledge transfer. In his various functions, Dr. Sayoc has contributed significantly to the achievement of efforts to transform Philippine agriculture and boost the productivity of local farmers.

Currently, the Filipino doctor is the head of public affairs for the East-West Seed Group, a local company of Dutch origin founded by Dutch seed producer Simon Groot with Filipino trader Benito Domingo in 1982. Since its inception, EWS has become a leading vegetable seeds company in the Philippines and has expanded its operations to countries in Asia and Africa, according to the Netherlands Embassy.

Dr Sayoc is also president of the Philippine Seed Industry Association and played a key role in involving Dutch expertise in the scoping mission on the establishment of the National Seed Technology Park. The first stage of the multi-year collaboration planned between the Philippines and the Netherlands concerns the development of horticulture.

She also heads the Philippine-Dutch Fellows Network Inc., the alumni association of Filipino professionals who studied in the Netherlands. Through PDFNI, she has been active in promoting Filipino-Dutch friendship while leveraging Dutch education to help build the nation.

In addition, Mr. Sayoc has been a member of the board of directors of the Dutch Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines since 2014, along with a number of Dutch-Filipino companies. Through DCCP, she makes her knowledge and experience available to Dutch companies interested in doing business in the Philippines.

Prior to entering the seed industry in 1998, Ms Sayoc was involved in the International Pig Farming Training Center – an institution established by the Government of the Netherlands, through Barneveld College, as well as its Philippine counterpart by the Ministry of Agriculture. Agricultural training institute.

The Orange-Nassau Order is awarded to individuals for their long-standing meritorious service to Dutch society.

Image courtesy of the Embassy of the Netherlands

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