The Department of Agriculture – Cordillera (DA-CAR) celebrated its 35 years of success through innovations for a progressive, sustainable Cordillera on June 30, 2023 at Guisad, Baguio City.
Agricultural stakeholders were also given recognition for their immeasurable assistance and services to DA-CAR, including the Young Farmers Challenge national winners, four (4) outstanding individuals and organizations awarded during the Farmers and Fisherfolk Month, two (2) Participatory Guarantee System-Organic Certifying Body (PGS-OCB) groups, Farmer Cooperatives and Associations (FCAs) who assisted during the Abra quake last 2022, and media partners.
Four (4) loyal employees were also awarded for their 35 years of service in the Department namely Imelda Gemino, Field Operations Division Assistant Chief Marlyn Tejero, Integrated Laboratories Division (ILD) Chief Dr. Arlene Sagayo, and Regional Technical Director for Operations Danilo P. Daguio. They were part of the 18 pioneers who volunteered to serve.
In his keynote speech, Undersecretary for Rice Industry Development Leocadio S. Sebastian congratulated and commended DA-CAR for its significant accomplishment in providing interventions and assistance to farmers which improved food productivity and sufficiency in CAR, pointing out the region in providing 80% highland vegetable supply in the country. “Through the years, DA-CAR helped the farmers in the region scale up the technologies that improved the productivity of vegetables, especially in scaling up and promoting good agricultural practices (GAP) in the Cordilleras, in partnership with the provincial agriculture offices,” he said.
USec Sebastian also praised the region for leading the PGS for Organic Agriculture as the first to have a PGS-OCB core group in the country. He also added that DA-CAR also improved vegetable logistics and mobilization to supply vegetables in the lowlands, especially during the height of the pandemic in 2020.
He also mentioned the expanding market of heirloom rice and how DA-CAR spearheaded the preservation of the indigenous commodity.
Meanwhile, Senior Undersecretary Domino F. Panganiban through Assistant Secretary for Administration Atty. Jane C. Bacayo also congratulated the CAR field office on improving the agricultural enterprises of farmers by providing high-quality seeds, farm machinery and equipment to food-producing communities throughout the region. “Your office helped improve the enterprises of more than 91,000 farmers and 1,500 FCAs last year alone. These initiatives allowed the farmers and their communities the capital, leadership and opportunities they needed to thrive under circumstances and fluctuating inflation,” he stated.
Mountain Province Congressman Maximo Y. Dalog, Jr., who also served in DA-CAR, also graced the celebration as he acknowledged everyone for making remarkable strives in fostering growth and development, particularly in the agricultural sector in CAR. “The unwavering commitment [of DA-CAR] to innovation has played a pivotal role in shaping a vibrant agricultural landscape that stands as a testament to the collective of each and everyone involved,” he said.
DA-CAR Regional Technical Director for Operations Danilo P. Daguio said the DA-CAR founding anniversary celebration is an opportunity to express gratitude to all of its agricultural stakeholders for taking a part in the Department’s successes and in carrying out DA-CAR’s mandate in collectively empowering farmers, fisherfolk and the private sector to increase agricultural productivity and profitability, taking into account sustainable, competitive, and resilient technologies and practices. “To celebrate the anniversary is also a way of thanksgiving to the Creator and to look back at history, celebrate successes and ponder at the lessons taught by failures with a hope for making a better tomorrow,” he expressed.
In the afternoon, the celebration continued through the Lakan at Lakambinin ng Agrikultura 2023 and a cultural presentation that was participated in by candidates and representatives from every division. Delbert Wayet and Monica Geer, both from the Research Division, were crowned as Lakan and Lakambini, while the Regulatory Division was the grand winner for the cultural presentation.// CEWaytan