An engineer who chose to be a full-time farmer in Tabuk City and an advocate of organic farming lead this year’s roster of regional awardees for the Gawad Saka awards.
This is the first time that regional individual and group awardees were conferred with plaques and cash prizes from Agriculture Sec. Proceso Alcala.
Engr. Teodoro Kub-ao Jr. and Jefferson Laruan got this year’s “Outstanding farmer adopting rice-based farming system” and “Outstanding organic agriculture farmer” awards, respectively.
Kub-ao, according to the regional Gawad Saka committee, has proven that farm-based jobs are equally competitive with white collar jobs. He converted his four-hectare farm in Tabuk City, Kalinga into a productive rice farm while other portions were dedicated for vegetable gardens, livestock, fruit bearing trees and fisheries.
Kub-ao, according to a DA briefer, was able to gain huge income in a single cropping alone, which he could not earn in a year from his salary if he is working as an engineer.
Laruan also converted over four hectares of land in Puguis, La Trinidad, Benguet into a dedicated farm for organic fruits, crops and vegetables.
After six years of perseverance, he is now growing some 28 high valued fruits, crops and vegetables in his “Lily of the Valley Organic Farm”
Alcala thanked Kub-ao and Laruan for sharing their knowledge to individuals and groups wanting to replicate their best practices. The duo also serves as resource speakers in various trainings and seminars.
Meanwhile, the Domingo family of the RJ Domingo Fish Farm won the “Outstanding farm family” award. All members of the family led by their father Ricarte, and two granchildren received the award.
The Domingo family also converted a vast track of land into a demo farm in Pudtol, Apayao. The fish farm has become an open classroom for people from all walks of life who want to improve their lives even as lowly farmers.
Other regional awardees this year are the Green Thumb 4-H Club of Bonglo, Paoay, Atok, Benguet as “Outstanding young farmers organization;” the Barlig Development Cooperative in Barlig, Mountain Province as the “Outstanding barangay food terminal” non-local government unit category; the La Trinidad Municipal Agriculture and Fish Center as the “Outstanding municipal agriculture and fisheries” awardee; the Mountain Province Provincial Agriculture and Fishers Council as the “Outstanding provincial agriculture and fisheries council,” and the Lebeng Rural Improvement Club in Bashoy, Kabayan, Benguet as the “Outstanding rural improvement club” awardee.
On hand to assist Alcala in Monday’s awarding rites were Regional Executive Director Marlyn Sta. Catalina, Governors Nestor Fongwan of Benguet and Leonardo Mayaen of Mountain Province and Baguio City Mayor Mauricio Domogan.
The awardees received cash prizes as well.
Since the inception of the award in 1970, the Cordillera has been home to individual and group national Gawad Saka awardees since the middle of 1990s.
Last year, three individuals and a farmer’s multipurpose cooperative from the region won in the 2010 national Gawad Saka search. They are Francisco Ching from Cada, Mankayan, Benguet who was awarded the “Outstanding high value crops farmer;” Genice Dalisdis from Tuba, Benguet as the “Outstanding small animal raiser,” and Danilo Trongco from Lagangilang, Abra who was named “Outstanding fisherfolk” (fish culture).
The Sayapot Multipurpose Cooperative was awarded the “Outstanding food terminal” for non-LGU managed category.
The Gawad Saka Award is an annual search of the DA to showcase agriculture as a competitive economic activity as well as promote integrated farming with crops, vegetables and livestock as a profitable venture of the farmer and fisherfolk or organization which will benefit the Filipinos by increasing food supply to sustain nationwide food security.