Agri achievers bridge gap towards AEC 2015

The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - When Gerardo “Gerry” Esteban decided to leave behind his fast-paced lifestyle and relocate to the countryside to farm, he did not imagine himself being one of the best in what he does, much more be recognized by the government for his feat in integrated rice farming.

Starting on a leased one-hectare land, he ventured into rice production with the knowledge passed on to him by his father.

Working hard and doubling his efforts, Mang Gerry, achieved good results and has now expanded his venture. He now manages his own five-hectare land planted with rice, fruit trees, vegetables, and livestock forage.

He also maintains a farmhouse, a greenhouse, a multi-purpose drying pavement, livestock animals and various aquatic species.  

Gerry, along with 21 other outstanding farm laborers, in individual and group categories, were recognized and awarded by Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala as outstanding farmers and fishers who constitute the 2014 Gawad Saka agri champions, at the Philippine International Convention Center Friday, Dec. 18, 2014.

The newest batch of achievers who have paved the  way for a more developed rural sector that is more competitive and at par with other ASEAN nations are composed of 14 individual awardees and eight  groups/associations including the outstanding farm family from Rosario, La Union.

“These outstanding farm champions have brought us closer to a more competitive Philippines, agriculture wise,” Alcala announced.

Despite the damages brought by Typhoons Glenda, Luis, Mario and Yolanda last year, the agriculture sector was able to post a 0.33 percent growth with production increments from the crops and livestock subsectors.

In total, the agriculture sector grossed P1.1 trillion at current prices, almost 10 percent more than last year’s gross income. 

“Our farmers’ and fishers’ exemplary and noteworthy contributions have made all these possible,” Alcala said.

Alcala added that the sector’s collective efforts continue to push for a more competitive Philippine agriculture that is ready to take on the challenges of the ASEAN Economic Community come 2015.            

“These individuals and groups who continue to forge a strong partnership with the government in its goals toward a food sufficient Philippines are truly remarkable. These awards are just testaments of their outstanding skills and talents that raise the bar of the food production sector year in and year out,” Alcala said.     

Aside from Esteban, this year’s awardees include top corn producer Eulogio V. Cabiles.

Esteban of Laur Nueva Ecija yielded a total of 54.68 metric tons for dry and wet season and  netted a total of P664,000 in 2013. Cabiles of Tarlac, on the other hand, earned a total of P962,000 from his three-hectare corn farm in the last two cropping seasons.

Esteban, Cabiles and 10 other individual awardees, alongside this year’s outstanding family of farmers each  took home P200,000 in cash award. Two other individual winners, in the field of science and research, each got P900,000 in research grant and P100,000 as cash prize.

All groups winners, with the exemption of the Outstanding Fisheries and Aqua-tic Resources Management Council (FARMC), each received P50,000 in cash award and P300,000 in project grant. FARMC was given P450,000 in cash award.

All winners were also awarded a presidential trophy and a presidential citation.










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