SunStar Davao EIC bags Bright Leaf award

SunStar Davao EIC bags Bright Leaf award
SunStar Davao EIC bags Bright Leaf award

SUNSTAR Davao editor-in-chief Reuel John F. Lumawag bagged the Best Agriculture Feature Story (Regional) in the 15th Bright Leaf Agriculture Journalism Awards (Bright Leaf).

He received the award during the virtual awarding ceremony on September 13, 2022.

Lumawag won for this story, “Davao Coffee Beginning to Rise in the Coffee Scene.” The three-part story looks into the coffee industry of Davao Region following its boom during the pandemic. The story tackles the issues being faced by the indutry and its farmers like the need to meet the demands and improving its quality. The last part of the story delves into the efforts of the government and the private sector in upscaling the local coffee industry of Davao from improving production to quality.

"With the boom in the local coffee scene, I asked myself how the supply side of the coffee industry is doing to meet the market demand. Thus, the direction I took for my story," Lumawag said, adding that it was mere curiosity that motivated him to pursue the story.

He said discussions with representatives of ACDI/VOCA, Coffee for Peace, and Department of Agriculture showed how the industry struggles to keep up with the demands of the local market.

However, at the same time, his story took note of the growing interest in Davao coffee in the international and local scene.

"We learned that coffee produced in Davao Region can compete competitively in the vast coffee market. But at the same time, there is still a lot of room to grow, especially the coffee farmers," Lumawag said.

He hopes the three-part story will provide industry leaders and movers a better understanding of the current situation of the local coffee industry and find ways to help it grow further.

The 15th Bright Leaf Awards centered on the theme “Cultivating Hope.” The theme highlights both the challenges and triumphs faced by the Philippine agricultural sector, and the journalists covering their trials and tribulations throughout 2021. The awards began in 2007, with less than a hundred entries. It is initiated by PMFTC Inc.

The Bright Leaf is an annual journalism competition that celebrates individuals and teams that were responsible for emphasizing the diverse agricultural stories in the Philippines. But more than that, Bright Leaf builds a sense of community and integrity among agricultural journalists and media practitioners, while emphasizing the value of telling stories about Philippine agriculture, and providing hope and inspiration to their readers. Aside from the prestigious recognition, winners receive a variety of prizes, bigger this year ; including an Apple Macbook, cash, a trip to a destination in South East Asia, and a Bright Leaf trophy.

In his welcome speech during the awarding ceremony, PMFTC Global Communications Director Dave Gomez highlights the importance of hope during a global crisis, and how the winners of the Bright Leaf Awards exemplifies that hope: “We believe that agricultural journalism brightly shines on the most vital topics in the past year through an increasingly digital and connected world. Bright Leaf hopes to continue blazing the trail in recognizing the cutting edge of agricultural journalism in the Philippines.”

This is echoed by the chairman for the Board of Judges, Krip Yuson, who said, “We are all sustained by hope: hope for a better Philippines, hope for a brighter future, hope that the words we write and the images we photograph will ultimately be seen by the next generation.” Alongside Mr. Yuson are other members of the panel judges from the fields of journalism, academia, print and digital media, namely: Rina Jimenez-David, Kristine Bersamina, Ralph Semino Galan, Francis Abraham, Albert Gamboa, Jake Maderazo, Isabelita Reyes, Ed Sallan, Yvette Tan, and Rem Zamora.

Meanwhile, Best Agriculture Feature Story (National) went to Manila Bulletin’s Vina V. Medenilla for her story, “Cavite Interior Designer is also a Weekend Farmer,” a feature on farmer Pinky Peralta and her journey as a designer, artist, and mother.

The agricultural news stories highlight the struggles of farmers in the Philippines, and bring public awareness to little-known issues. The Best Agriculture News Story (Regional) was awarded to Rachel P. Ganancial’s “Pala’wan Tribes Struggle Through Pineapple Farming During Covid-19 Pandemic”, published in Palawan News. She focuses on the Pala’wan tribes growing Batarza pineapples and their struggles during the pandemic. The Best Agriculture News Story (National) went to Jordeene Sheex B. Lagare from the Philippine Daily Inquirer, for the article “PH Importing 200,000 Tons of Sugar to Stabilize Prices,” which traces the challenges experienced by sugar refineries after natural disasters destroyed raw sugar production.

The Bright Leaf Awards also highlight agricultural news on other mediums, such as online, TV, and radio. The winner for the Best Online Story comes from Mongabay News’ Karlson Lapniten, “Sustainable Livelihood Offers a Lifeline to Philippines' Dying Rice Terraces,” which highlights how farmers are trying to maintain the Ifugao Rice Terraces through traditional terrace farming and other sustainable methods. Meanwhile, Best Agriculture TV Program/Segment went to Amielle Alexandra Garcia Ordoñez’s “In Review: Bakit Wala Pa Ring Pag-Usad sa Buhay ng Maraming Magsasaka sa Pilipinas?”, which is part of GMA News and Public Affairs Digitals’ Stand for Truth’s election series. The segment focused on the Philippine agricultural sector and the current challenges the sector faced. Finally, Best Agriculture Radio Program/Segment was awarded to DZWT 540 KHZ Radyo Totoo’s Nora Sagayo for her segment, “Organic Fertilizer,” which informed listeners about the uses and procedure of using organic fertilizer and composting.

The biggest awards this year are centered on four categories. The Tobacco Photo of the Year is awarded to the photojournalist who was able to preserve the image that encapsulates the Philippines’ tobacco industry in 2021. This was awarded to Baguio Chronicle’s Laila Austria, whose winning image entitled “Surviving Tobacco Turn Gold.” Her photograph featured Virgilio Rodriguez, a private tobacco farmer from Candon whose crops were able to survive a typhoon. Similarly, the Tobacco Story of the Year celebrates major changes in the Philippines’ tobacco industry in 2021. This was awarded to Baguio Chronicle’s Frank Cimatu’s “Perfect Storm Hits Ilocos and Abra Tobacco Farms” which highlighted the climate destruction caused by the January 2021 rains that detroyed tobacco fields in Ilocos Sur and Abra.

Finally, the last two awards capture, in words and image, the relevant state of Philippine agriculture. The Agriculture Photo of the Year went to Edge Davao’s Rhoy Cobilla, for a photograph titled “The Hardwork of Dawn” which illuminates the hard work of the fishermen in Barangay Tagas in Camarines Sur. The Agriculture Story of the Year was awarded to Cai U. Ordinario and Tyrone Jasper C. Piad’s two-part article, titled “Global Shipment Woes: Additional Shocks to PHL’s Food Supply Chain” (Part 1) and “Supply Stiffness to Stay as Shipment Issues Seen Spilling Past Yule Season” (Part 2), both published in the Business Mirror. Their work focused on the global supply chain and how it affected the Philippines’ food supplies. (With PR)


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