Four local government units from Camarines Sur and their respective municipal/city agriculturists and extension workers who have exceptionally performed in the implementation of the Department of Agriculture’s Corn Program were among those honored and given awards during the 5TH National Quality Corn Achievers Awards (NQCAA) and 13th National Corn Congress at the Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay City on November 23, 2017.
Awarded as among the country’s top 16 outstanding municipalities /cities were Iriga City, Calabanga, Tigaon and Naga City and the outstanding municipal/city agriculturists are Ruben S.de los Santos, Gil Gabriel H. Bordado III, Lea M. Beltran and Edna B. Bongalonta , respectively. Each winning municipality/city was awarded a project grant worth P1M and a trophy while the municipal agriculturists were awarded P30 thousand check, a trophy and a medallion. On hand to receive the award for their respective LGUs were Mayor Eduardo A. Severo of Calabanga and Mayor Chiqui Fuentebella of Tigaon.
They were accompanied on the stage by DA Bicol Regional Executive Director, Dr. Elena B. De los santos, OIC-Regional technical director for Operations and Extension Rodel Tornilla and Regional Corn Program coordinator Lorenzo Alvina.
Moreover , ten agricultural extension workers were also recognized and given P20 cash prize and a trophy. They were: Marly Corporal and Honesto Sirios, Jr and Jonafel Taduran of Iriga; Joshua Ipo and Ryan Calatrava of Calabang; ; Buster Ibarbia and Noel Manaog of Buhi. Hector Llagas of Bato; Jerry Mercado of Goa and Annie Lumanog of Bula. Both Mercado and Lumanog who have been awardees for the past 3 consecutive years joined the ranks of hall of fame awardees.
Meanwhile the Tuburan United Farmers Association of Cawayan Masbate was also recognized and awarded on the same occasion for placing 3rd as outstanding cassava cluster in the 1st Cassava Cluster Management Excellence Award. The association president, Robinson Riveral received the check amounting to P1 million and the trophy.
Agriculture secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol in his keynote speech underscored that the three vital needs of the agriculture sector are technology, financing and market. If these needs are addressed then farmers will be better off. He gave the assurance : Ang kasalukuyang administration ay Kumakalinga sa mga magsasaka.”
He also announced the launching of the “Bigas Kamais rice corn blend program” a collaborative and innovative marketing and promotion project of the DA, Phil. Maize Federation, Inc. and the National Food Authority as a strategy to augment rice as a staple, to address malnutrition and provide additional income to farmers.
Another first during this years’ Corn event was the awarding of the Cornucopia Awards which according to secretary Piñol was his idea. This awards seeks to recognize and provide incentive to farmers organizations implementing value adding on corn and cassava and also aims to promote the development/production of different processed products from corn and cassava. Five organizations were declared winners but the grand prize was bagged by the Cassava growers and Processors Association of Dapitan City, Zamboanga del Sur. The original prize of P1 million for the Cornucopia Award was raised by Sec. Piñol during his keynote speech.
They were evaluated by a panel of evaluators from various national government agencies based on their performance in the promotion and development of the corn sector in their area giving premium to sustained production of safe and quality corn grains and adoption of good agricultural practices by the farmers they serve or support.
This year’s corn congress and awarding ceremonies also featured technical sessions, machinery display, product demo and exhibits. Over 2000 delegates from the different regions of the country attended the event. The other luminaries who graced the occasion were: DA undersecretary Ariel T. Cayanan; Dr. Luz Taposok, ATI Director; Lt. Co;. Jason L.Y. Aquino (Ret.) PA, NFA Administrator; Engr. Roger Navarro, PhilMaize, president; DR. Edralina P. Serrano UPLB professor and national chair, NQCAA-TWG; Dir. Antonio G. Gerundio, National Corn Program Director; Roderico R. Bioco, PhilMaize chairman, Emeritus; DA regional executive directors and other regional officials and officers and members of PhilMaize Board (Emily B. Bordado)