DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/01 June)—Seventeen farmers, small animal raisers and fisherfolk from the Davao Region emerged as winners in the 2014 Gawad Saka Outstanding Agri-Achievers awarded by the Department of Agriculture (DA) with Davao Oriental, badly hit by super typhoon Pablo in December 2012, posting the highest number of awardees.
Davao Oriental has eight agri-achievers awarded for their best practices in increasing yields and incomes, and nurturing small farmer/fisherfolk organizations. Davao del Sur has four awardees, Compostela Valley province has three, and Davao del Norte and Davao City have one awardee each.
Artemio Cabaňog, 44, outstanding rice farmer from Cateel, Davao Oriental said in an interview that it was his second time to receive the award for his farm performance.
The first time was in 2000 when he was planting hybrid rice. Lately, he has been practicing organic farming using inbred varieties.
He said his farm has recovered from the damages caused by typhoon Pablo (international name Bopha) that hit his town in December 2012. The disaster left 40 percent of coconut trees planted in his three-hectare farm standing, he noted.
Cabaňog said he used to harvest 125 bags (50 kilograms each) of organic rice from a hectare of land. But after tropical depression Agaton hit in January, his farm yield went down to 100 bags of rice.
Similarly, Danilo Diwata, 42, outstanding small animal raiser from Banaybanay, Davao Oriental, said he had recovered from the damages caused by recent natural disasters. He began animal raising in 2008, and won his first Gawad Saka in 2011 at the municipality level.
Engr. Remelyn Recoter, DA Region 11 acting director, told reporters that all 17 regional awardees will be evaluated for the national level, adding that Gawad Saka has 23 categories.
“They are already winners,” said Engr. Ariel Cayanan, executive director of the Philippine Council for Agricultural Fisheries. He said the agri-achievers “have improved the history of farming in the country.”
“They have also improved their organizations, and relationships between local government units and private sectors in farming and fisheries,” he added.
The Gawad Saka is an annual activity to acknowledge the achievements of small farmers, fisherfolk, and other agri-fishery groups. The department evaluates their practices in their respective communities and how they contribute to food self-sufficiency and security in the country.
The DA expects regional achievers to share their best practices to others and act as role models in their communities. (Lorie Ann Cascaro/MindaNews)