The agriculture sector in the country has been thriving over the years. It is almost impossible not to see rice and corn fields or vegetable plantations when you visit the countryside. This livelihood has been long established where it employs close to half of the labor force in the country.

But did the agriculture sector receive the recognition and the support that it needs and deserves?

Through the years since the birth of Gawad Saka, a prestigious award-giving body has started to award exemplary farmers in the year 1971 by the Department of Agriculture (DA).

Fast forward to 49 years ago, in May 2020 a coffee table book will be launched to tell more than a story. A story of hope, success and a full battle the fought along their way. As part of the 50th Golden year, the DA-Agricultural Training Institute (ATI) in collaboration with the DA Regional Field Office No. 02 (RFO 02) heads back on time to know more of the success stories of five (5) chosen outstanding agricultural achievers in the Cagayan Valley Region.

These five successful farmers and a group are some of the trailblazing experts in different fields of agriculture.

In Sanchez Mira, Cagayan we talked to a well established cooperative the Masisit-Dacal Livelihood Cooperative, Inc. who have been operating for 33 years and have received their award in the year 2004.

In 2013, Jomar Jarvinia, a native of Cabatuan, Isabela bagged the Gawad Saka Outstanding Rice Farmer where he shared that success comes not from pure luck but combined with hard work, dedication and with guidance from our Almighty.

While Vivien Taniza from San Mateo, Isabela had the hardest time telling her story because of what she has been through, she recalled where did the years of perseverance and hard work go. This meant of failing more than once and finally kept her faith and feet on the ground until she got to stand proud in 2017 where she awarded as Gawad Saka Most Oustanding Fisherfolk.

Traveling south we met Eriberto De Ocampo of Naguilian, Isabela, an integrated farmer that he considered as the way to go of his success. This multi-awarded farmer was DA’s Gawad Saka Outstanding High-Value Crop Farmer in 2006.

Lastly, Joselito Cabanayan did not imagine how little land transformed him what he is today. The celebration of life comes naturally from this Gawad Saka 2015 Outstanding Corn Farmer of Villaverde, Nueva Vizcaya.

We will all agree that these stories are mere facts regarded and aimed to show how lives have changed through battling everyday misfortunes and how the interventions of the DA affected the lives of the farmers.

We have more than five success stories in the region but that doesn’t mean it will stop from there. When you meet a farmer today you may be inspired by their stories of hope, success, and battle!