By Philippine News Agency
BAGUIO CITY — The Department of Agriculture (DA) has recognized the contributions of individuals and groups for their effort to improve the agricultural industry in the region.
During the regional “Gawad Saka” awards on Friday led by DA Assistant Secretary for Agri-business Andrew Villacorta, the department acknowledged individual farmers, fisherfolk, as well as groups, who excelled and made significant contributions in the development of agriculture and the fishery sector in the regions.
Villacorta said “their efforts have helped improve the lives of the farmers and fisherfolks.”
Leading the region’s “Gawad Saka” awardees included Honorio Clemencia named “Outstanding Rice Farmer” for his adaption of the integrated rice-based farming system; Rogel Marsan as the “Outstanding Organic Agriculture farmer”; and Romeo Kimbungan for “Outstanding Agricultural Entrepreneur”.
Renier Bilan won the “Outstanding Fisherfolk” award; Saint Williams Multi-Purpose Cooperative for “Outstanding Small Farmer Fisherfolk Organization” and the Bantay Rural Improvement Club for “Outstanding Rural Improvement Club”.
Bauko Municipal Agricultural and Fishery Council was awarded for “Outstanding Municipal/City Agricultural and Fishery Councils” and the Mountain Province Provincial Agricultural and Fishery Council for “Outstanding Provincial Agricultural and Fishery Council”.
Villacorta said the “Gawad Saka” award is given annually for the government’s recognition of the agricultural achievements and contributions in helping achieve food sufficiency.
Each awardee received a trophy, a PHP50,000 cash prize, and a chance to be recognized in the national search.
Villacorta talked about the importance of the farmers in the Cordillera to the overall production of the country.
He said that Cordillera has a very big contribution in agriculture, producing about 80 percent of the temperate vegetable crops requirement of the country.
“Hindi matatawaran ang kontribusyon ng Cordillera sa produksyon ng gulay sa buong bansa, even sa organic farming, nangunguna ang region na ito, kaya kailangan talagang mabigyan ng malaking tulong ang Cordillera (The Cordillera’s contribution in terms of vegetable production in the entire country is priceless. Even in organic farming the region has been on top that is why there is a need to assist the Cordillera),” he said.
He also commended the rice farmers in the region, saying from 150,000 metric tons of rice, they are now producing 450,000 metric tons.
“Almost tumaas ng thrice ung production nila mainly in Kalinga, Apayao at sa Abra, Napakalaking achievement yon kasi nag-contribute sila sa national record breaking performance ng rice production sa buong bansa kaya tayo umabot ng 19.3 million metric tons, yun ang highest so far (The rice production mainly of Kalinga, Apayao and Abra contributed to the national record breaking performance in rice production nationwide. this is a big achievement with the country yielding 19.3 million metric tons of rice),” he added.
“Agriculture and Agri-fishery are more than just sowing seeds or going out to the sea and to culture fish, it is a science, a business, an advocacy, a passion and a gift,” Villacorta said during the awarding.