6 farmers, groups from SoCot vie for Gawad Saka awards


GENERAL SANTOS CITY – Six farmers and organizations from South Cotabato province will vie for the top awards in this year’s edition of the national Gawad Saka search.

Justina Navarrete, chief of the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist, said Wednesday the six entries were among the 10 that were endorsed by the Department of Agriculture (DA) in Region 12 for the annual awards.

She said the province’s nominees earlier won six of the 10 awards in the regional Gawad Saka search.

Topping the list is the family of the 2016 National Gawad Saka winner for outstanding fisherfolk award, Ms. Regina Ruferos of Banga town, who will represent the region for the fisherfolk family category, she said.

She said the other group entries are the Tampakan Municipal Agriculture and Fishery Council (MAFC) and the South Cotabato Provincial AFC for the municipal and provincial AFCs category.

Navarrete said three more farmers from the province will also compete in the individual categories.

These are Berlinda Montaño of Banga for the rice farmer category; Jose Lorenzo of Tupi for the high value crops farmer category; and, Gerardo Cordero of Koronadal City for the coconut farmer category.

“We’re very optimistic with the chances of our entries in terms of topping their respective categories,” Navarrete said.

Milagros Casis, DA Region 12 director, said they have formally endorsed the region’s 10 nominees, which will undergo evaluation next month.

She said the other regional nominees are the Bulacanon Irrigators’ Association of Makilala, North Cotabato for the irrigators association category; Ivy Carolino of Carmen, North Cotabato for the young farmer category; Dr. Emma Sales, faculty member of the University of Southern Mindanao in Kabacan, North Cotabato, for the outstanding agricultural scientist category.

“They will undergo rigorous evaluation based on the standards and qualifications set for every category,” she said.

The official said they are hoping that the region’s performance will improve in this year’s national search after only bagging two top awards last year.

Aside from Ruferos, the other national winner from the region last year was Dr. Sailila Abdula, the current executive director of the Philippine Rice Research Institute, who topped the outstanding agricultural researcher category.

Maria Cecilia Frando, DA-12’s Gawad Saka focal person, said the regional winners are set to receive cash incentives of P30,000 each for the individual category and P50,000 each for the organization or group category.

She disclosed the regional winners will be recognized in awarding ceremony that will be held later this month.PNA – northboundasia.com