THE just-concluded Farmers and Fisherfolk Month celebration in Negros Island Region (NIR) has underscored the importance of sustaining agricultural productivity in the region.
Department of Agriculture (DA)-NIR Regional Director Joyce Wendam, who spoke before hundreds of local farmers and fisherfolk during the culminating activity at Bacolod Pavillon Hotel on Friday, May 26, said there is a need for the sector to maintain productivity amid the challenges brought by various factors, including the Asean integration and climate change, among others.
Citing a report from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), Wendam said NIR ranked first in terms of increase in rice harvest area in the country.
As of March this year, the region posted a 27 percent increase and ranked fourth in production with 31.59 percent increase, she also said.
In terms of yield, Negros also edged other regions in the Visayas with 3.48 tons per hectare, PSA reports showed.
Eastern Visayas has 3.17 tons per hectare yield; Central Visayas, 3.15 tons per hectare; and Western Visayas, 3.13 tons per hectare, it added.
“Agricultural productivity can only be achieved when our local farmers and fisherfolk are efficient and competitive," Wendam said, adding that the DA-NIR will continue to work on providing them necessary interventions for further development.
During the culminating activity, DA-NIR recognized local government units (LGUS), workers, farmers and fisherfolk in the province for their contribution in maintaining a strong agriculture sector.
The 2016 Rice Achievers award was given to Valladolid as outstanding municipality.
Grace Ariola of Hinigaran and Girlie Gayanillo of Valladolid were awarded outstanding agricultural extension workers, each receiving P20,000 in cash prize.
Named outstanding local farmer technicians were Jerry Dionson of Bago City and Sarah Villaflor of Moises Padilla, also receiving P20,000 each.
The DA-NIR also recognized the region’s Gawad Saka winners who will vie for the national search.
They are Richard Aquino of Manapla as outstanding fisherfolk in capture fisheries category and Hinoba-an as outstanding Municipal Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Management Council.
They received P30,000 and P50,000 in cash prizes, respectively, from the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources.
Antonio Jesus Orbida of Binalbagan won as outstanding coconut farmer.
Other Gawad Saka winners included Elan Cadayday of Mabinay, Negros Oriental, outstanding sugarcane farmer; Rodrigo Sumugat and family, outstanding farmer family; Renante Sombria of Silay City, outstanding high-value crop farmer; and Merlinda Española of Isabela, outstanding corn farmer.
They each received P30,000 in cash prizes from DA-NIR.
San Carlos City was awarded outstanding city agricultural and fishery council, receiving P50,000.
DA-NIR also named the winners for this year's Regional Organic Agriculture Achievers Award.
Negros Occidental won as outstanding organic agriculture province. It received P500,000 worth of projects.
Victorias City, meanwhile, was awarded outstanding organic agriculture local government unit, receiving P300,000 in projects.
Other winners were Leni Lacuesta of Victorias City as outstanding organic agriculture city focal person; Nica Dela Cruz of San Carlos City, outstanding organic agricultural extension worker; Jerry Dionson of Bago City, outstanding organic agriculture small farmer (individual); Sag-ang Organic Coffee Producers Association in La Castellana, outstanding organic agriculture farmers (group); and Rodrigo Sumugat and family of Victorias City, outstanding organic agriculture farming family.
They received P20,000, P15,000, P50,000, P50,000, P100,000, and P50,000 in cash prizes, respectively.
Meanwhile, participating farmers and fisherfolk generated P50,000 in sales from the one-day agriculture fair.