By Merlinda P. Calubaquib
Last December 5, Vizcaya Fresh! (VF) Organic Advocates, Inc., received its Organic Agriculture Achiever’s award as regional winner for this year’s search For Outstanding Small Farmer (Group Category) of the Department of Agriculture (DA). Those who received the award in behalf of Vizcaya Fresh! were Ms. Merlinda P. Calubaquib, VF Director and Area Manager of PRRM Nueva Vizcaya, and Mr. Amos B. Dayag and Mr. Ronnel Acio, VF Production Unit staff members. Vizcaya Fresh participated in the DA organic agriculture search processes from April to June, leading to VF receiving the notice of winning last July.
The awarding ceremony was held at Pensione Roma Hotel and Restaurant in Tuguegarao City. Besides the plaque and certificate of recognition, the DA also granted Vizcaya Fresh a cash award of one hundred thousand pesos to support its projects and activities on organic agriculture.
Vizcaya Fresh! farmer-member, Ms. Daisy Barcelona of Tidang Village, Kayapa, also received her award as outstanding organic agriculture under the individual farmer category. Together with a plaque and a certificate, Ms. Barcelona also received a cash award of fifty thousand pesos.
The provincial government of Nueva Vizcaya was likewise awarded Outstanding Organic Agriculture Province by the DA-Region 02 as awards to seven of the nine search categories were brought home by Vizcayanos. Provincial Agriculture Officer, Mr. Alexander Domingo, joined the regional winners during the awarding ceremony.
On December 1, prior to the regional awarding event, the provincial government of Nueva Vizcaya also conducted its own awarding ceremony held at the People’s Stage of the Provincial Capitol grounds in Bayombong to recognize Vizcayanos who have brought honor to the province via the DA search.
This gradual success of Vizcaya Fresh! is attributed to the initiatives of Japanese non-government organization, GLM Institute (GLMi) based in Tokyo, Japan, Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement (PRRM), the Nueva Vizcaya provincial government, the partner municipal governments of Kasibu, Kayapa, Dupax del Sur and Sta. Fe, Nueva Vizcaya State University (NVSU), DA-Region 02, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), and other committed Vizcayanos. ##