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Written by Luzminda Tamayo
Photos by Bryan Arcilla

“How could we increase the number of our Gawad Saka national winners?”

This was the statement made by Regional Executive Director Arnel V. de Mesa of the Department of Agriculture-CALABARZON before he left for Palawan the other day and aerated to the regional focal person of Gawad Saka Ms. Patria T. Bulnahagui.

During the GAWAD SAKA special meeting held on April 17, 2018 at the Southern Tagalog Integrated Agricultural Research Center (STIARC), Marawoy, Lipa City, Ms. Bulanhagui enjoined the group consisting of some 60 participants composed of five (5) APCOS, banner program coordinators, provincial Gawad Saka Focal Persons, PCA Regional Manager, Focal Person of BFAR 4-A, and a representative from Sugar Regulatory Administration to step up for the purpose of achieving the said goal of RED de Mesa.

Assistant Regional Director for Operations and Extension Milo D. delos Reyes in his message gave some inputs in preparing scrapbooks of Gawad Saka entries based from his experience as national evaluator in corn farmer category. Some of which are: write a story of a person – his life before and after – from small farm production until he was able to increase gradually and what it has done to his family. His attitude must also be looked into, like the way he answers during the interview. Other factors are his impact in the community, his responsibility to the government (ITR) is also important. In the case of cooperative, all the services it renders to its members. In short, extraordinary things/happening with social impact should be included in the scrapbook. Soil analysis is a most for corn and rice farmer. And the most important thing is recording, all activities and expenses must be recorded – from planting to marketing. He also advised to read and follow the guidelines thoroughly, don’t memorize the introduction or background but the requirements.

Ms. Bulanhagui later on discussed the roles of those involved in Gawad Saka. She said banner program coordinator should have the first hand information as to who is the most outstanding farmer because they are privy to their farmers and hence their (program coordinators) roles go beyond funding the Gawad Saka Search. Likewise, APCOs, should have closer coordination with the OPA and LGUs for us to have strong contenders for the national level.

A workshop on the strategies and presentation followed. Erlene Manohar of PCA was the first presentor, next was Batangas, SRA, Quezon, Laguna and Rizal. As a result of the workshop, there will be a training workshop on scrapbook and video production preparation tentatively June of this year. This will be participated in by Provincial Focal Persons, APCOs, PCA, BFAR and SRA.