Ilocos Norte’s outstanding farmers, fishers honored

LAOAG CITY — Outstanding performers in the agriculture and fisheries sectors were recognized by the provincial government at the Capitol auditorium on Tuesday.

Wearing traditional Barong Tagalog and Filipiniana attire, around 25 food producers and agriculture partners received their award as “Gawad Saka outstanding achievers in agriculture and fisheries” for the years 2016 and 2017 under the provincial level.

The award comes with a plaque of recognition, certificate and cash incentive.

Every year, the search for Gawad Saka is being conducted by the Department of Agriculture in partnership with the local government units and private sector here to give due recognition to farmers, fisherfolk and people’s groups whose exemplary contributions to the agricultural development of the province serve as an inspiration to others.

The search is composed of three main categories: individual, commodity and organization. The sub-categories under the organization category are: small farmer/fisherfolk organization, young farmers’ organization, Rural Improvement Club, Barangay Food Terminal, Municipal and Provincial Agriculture and Fishery Council.

The individual categories include the young farmer/fisherfolk, agricultural entrepreneur, agricultural scientist and researcher. There were also awardees under the commodity category such as on rice, corn, high value crops, organic agriculture, animal raiser and fisherfolk on fish culture and capture.

For the last five years, Regional Executive Director Lucrecio Alviar Jr. of the DA Region 1 has hailed Ilocos Norte for having the most number of awardees representing Region 1.

“Every year, about 45 percent of our Gawad Saka awardees in Region 1 came from the province. We hope to sustain it all through the years,” Alviar said as he thanked all the farmers and fishers for their innovativeness, community involvement and entrepreneurial spirit.

He likewise encouraged farmers and fishers to strive further to produce more awardees in all of the categories to serve as an inspiration and model for others.

For her part, Ilocos Norte Governor Ma. Imelda Josefa Marcos has lauded the outstanding achievers in various categories for their hard work and ingenuity in agriculture development amid the challenges of extreme weather.

“Let’s unite and help each other to increase our productivity and promote inclusive growth,” she said.

On the other hand, Domingo La Torre, a fisherman from Davila village, Pasuquin town, said: “We are thankful for all the endless support of our government. As fishermen, we always risk our lives when we go out to the sea. But we are grateful for the use of technology like the GPS and cellphone. These serve as our guide when we go fishing.”