CEBU CITY – The Bicol Region bagged four (4) out of the nine (9) National Organic Agriculture Achievers Awards during the 15th National Organic Agriculture Congress held on November 13-15, 2018 at the Waterfront Hotel this city.

Agriculture Undersecretary Ariel T. Cayanan and National Organic Agriculture Focal Person Engr. Christopher Morales led the awarding ceremony.

The province of Albay received P3 Million project grant as National Outstanding Province implementing Organic Agriculture (OA) program. Governor Al Francis Bichara together with Provincial Agriculturist Cheryl Rebeta, DA Bicol Regional Executive Director Elena B. de los Santos, OIC RTD Rodel P. Tornilla and Adelina A. Losa, Regional OA focal person, received the trophy and P3 M check. The province garnered the highest award as it has successfully implemented the Family Based Food Production Program (AFBFPP) actively participated in by 100 households per barangay of the total 720 barangays of Albay which started in January 2017. The program helped each family put up a backyard vegetable garden and communal vegetable gardens in each barangay. All these families were trained to make their own organic fertilizers out of kitchen wastes and other indigenous materials.

Eleanor Daep, Albay provincial Organic Agriculture Program focal person also bagged the award for the National Outstanding OA Focal Person and received P50,000 cash award and trophy.

Joey Hade, 25 years old, who belongs to the indigenous tribe of Agta Tabangnon in Goa, Camarines Sur is this year’s national outstanding Young Organic Agriculture Farmer. He received P100,000 cash award and trophy.

Meanwhile, the Goa Agri Producers and Processors Association (GAPPA) was adjudged as national outstanding Organic Agriculture Farmers’ Group and received P500,000 cash award and trophy. GAPPA is the prime mover of organic farming system and the leading consolidator and distributor of organic produce of small holder group of farmers in the municipality of Goa, Camarines Sur. Organized in 2013, the GAPPA is now composed of 63 farmer producers covering 58 hectares of productive farm areas in Goa, and some parts of the municipalities of San Jose, Tinambac and Caramoan in Camarines Sur.

The national finalists were also honored during the ceremony. Five shortlisted national finalists from Bicol Region also received trophies. They are: Ligao City – national finalist for Outstanding City category; Arlene Dayo, municipal OA focal person of Goa, Camarines Sur – national finalist for Outstanding Mun./City OA Focal Person; Felix Gino Murillo of Ligao City – national finalist for Agricultural Extension Worker category; Rossini Obligacion – national finalist for Small Farmer Individual Category; and Edilberto Abad and family of Goa, Cam. Sur – national finalist for Organic Farming Family.

All the national finalists and major awardees were accompanied on stage by RED Ellen de los Santos, RTD Tornilla, and Adelina A. Losa. The Bicol Region is composed of over 75 delegates.

The OA congress depicted the theme “Organic Agriculture: Advancing the Local Food Culture Movement in the Philippines.” (Lovella P. Guarin)