PAFC Catanduanes Wins Nat’l Gawad Saka Award

The Provincial Agricultural and Fishery Council (PAFC) of Catanduanes has been adjudged as this year’s National Gawad Saka Outstanding PAFC, entitling it to receive a project grant of P250,000.00.

The PAFC chairperson, Ulysses Tabelin of Virac, will personally receive the award tomorrow, Oct. 15, during the awarding ceremony at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) in Pasay City, with Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to also hand over a presidential trophy and citation.

Department of Agriculture (DA) Regional Executive Director Jose V. Dayao delivered the good news to Governor Joseph C. Cua through a letter last week. He invited the governor to join him in attending the affair together with Provincial Agriculturist Herbert Evangelista and PAFC Coordinator Nelia B. Teves.

The award comes four months after the the National Technical Committee of the GAWAD SAKA validated the Catanduanes PAFC’s accomplishments as one of the three grand finalists for the national award as outstanding PAFC.

Among the major accomplishments of the Catanduanes PAFC that merited its entry as grand finalist in the search is the conduct of the NAFC-funded Abaca Business Plan Participatory Workshop in April 2008 which led to the crafting of the three-year Catanduanes Unlad Abakamasa (CUA) Development Plan to benefit 14,000 farming families.

The Council also worked for the conduct of Farmers’ Forum in various agricultural programs of the government and institutionalized the celebration of the annual Farmers and Fisherfolks Month in May in the province.

Because of PAFC’s aggressive advocacy for LGU support for the DA’s Fertilizer Subsidy Program, the provincial government approved P1.5 million as its counterpart to the program until 2010. The Cua administration also provides annual funding for the Council with the integration of PAFC’s program of work in the province’s Annual Investment Plan.

In 2007, the PAFC was given P100,000 for its operations and another P150,000 as equity for the construction of the Provincial Multipurpose Training Center, the ground floor of which would be for the use of the Council as office, conference hall and showroom for the island’s main products like abaca, tiger grass and handicraft.

In 2008, its funding for operations and enterprise development was increased to P200,000 while the completion of the first phase of the training center was allocated P1.2 million. Aside from actively promoting agricultural programs and services and improved technologies, the PAFC assisted non-government organizations and local government units in accessing funds for 11 LEAD projects amounting to P1.367-million in 2007-2008.

It was able to obtain P750,000 from the NAPC for the Livelihood Assistance Program (LAP) for typhoon Reming victims. But, instead of giving it away for free, the Council adopted the roll-over scheme whereby the amounts were repaid, with the money lent out anew to help more families and dispel the dole-out mentality. Already, 11 beneficiaries from Virac and Bato have been awarded funding for small businesses under the scheme.

Aside from supporting the RP-Spain SAIS-BC Abaca Fiber Extraction and Marketing Projects, the PAFC provided the Dororian Farmers Producers Cooperative a capital of P25,000 from the rolled-over LEAD fund for the latter’s abaca fiber "tinagak" making project.

In support of the DTI’s One Town, One Product program, the Council provided additional capital to the Caramoran Lasa Processors Association engaged in Lasa softbroom making project. Out of three projects it endorsed to DOLE, two were approved: P178,000 for the abaca twine making project of Macutal Farmers Producers Cooperative and P103,000 for the muscovado production project of Alinawan Small Sugarcane Processors.

Since 2007, the Council has approved 21 resolutions in support of its own activities and projects and also of other NGOs and rural-based organizations, and supported the establishment of the Catanduanes Crab Center and the enactment of an ordinance to curb the illegal trade in crablets sold outside the province.

The GAWAD SAKA is a yearly undertaking of the Department of Agriculture (DA) in cooperation with other government institutions, non-government offices and the private sector. This project aims to give due recognition and pay tribute to dedicated individuals ad institutions whose exemplary accomplishments in their respective fields of endeavor and contribution to the country's agricultural development are deemed worthy of emulation. It is a tribute to farmers, fisherfolk, and institutions in recognition of their significant contributions towards a modernized and equitable agriculture.

Source: Catanduanes Tribune - 17 October 2009