Agri coop, 8 farmers from Region 12 finalists in national Gawad Saka Search

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 17 June) – An agricultural cooperative and eight other farmers from various parts of Region 12 have been chosen as finalists in the 2014 National Gawad Saka Search.

Amalia Jayag-Datukan, Department of Agriculture (DA) Region 12 executive director, said Tuesday the nine finalists were selected by the 2014 Gawad Saka’s national technical committee out of the region’s 16 nominees or entries.

She said they earlier endorsed the 16 nominees for the national evaluation after winning the Regional Gawad Saka Search.

The nine national finalists are Jason Roy Ancheta for the young farmer category; Jessie Tarroza integrated rice-based farmer; Arturo Damasco, organic rice farmer; Girlie Adug, sugarcane farmer; Paquito Laquihon, small animal raiser; Ella Pobre, high value crops farmer; Marciano Rodriguez, fisherfolk-fish culture; Alfonso Alberto,  corn farmer; and Don Bosco Multi-Purpose Cooperative, organic farmers’ group.

Ancheta and Adug hails from Matalam town while Laquihon and Pobre are from Aleosan and Alamada towns, respectively, in North Cotabato.

Tarroza and Damasco are from Surallah while Rodriguez and Alberto are from Banga town in South Cotabato.

Don Bosco Multi-purpose Cooperative, which is considered as the country’s forerunner in the export of organic colored rice, is based in M’lang, North Cotabato.

Gawad Saka is an annual undertaking that recognizes farmers’ contributions in the development of the agriculture and fisheries sectors.

The national government, through the DA, launched the initiative to recognize outstanding achievers in agriculture and fisheries who represent stakeholders of the community-farmers, fisherfolk, farm communities, scientists, and organizations.

Datukan said the nine finalists are currently undergoing another round of evaluation or assessment for the National Gawad Saka Search.

“I hope we’ll produce more Gawad Saka winners this year through these nine finalists,” she said.

In 2013, three nominees from the region were declared winners in the annual national search.

Dr. Cayetano Pomares of the University of South Mindanao in  Kabacan, North Cotabato was adjudged as outstanding  agricultural scientist while Dr. Melchor Serquiña of Kidapawan City and Leonardo Primne Jr. of  Banga, South Cotabato topped the coconut farmer and fisherfolk-fish culture categories, respectively.