Gawad Saka Committees Propose Improvements on Awards Guidelines

ATI Partnerships & Accreditation Division Chief Renato dela Cruz shares lessons learned as head of 2016 Gawad Saka secretariat.

LOS BAÑOS, Laguna – Following the success of the 2016 Gawad Saka Search for Outstanding Achievers in Agriculture and Fisheries, national executive and technical committee members convened in a post-evaluation workshop and discussed possible improvements in its mechanics and guidelines.

Some of the proposed refinements in the Gawad Saka awards program is the creation of separate sub-categories for small and medium enterprises under the agri-entrepreneur category and for the fruit and vegetables industries under the high-value crops category. The teams also recommended the increase of the minimum cash prize for national winners in most of the categories from Php 200,000 to Php 250,000, aside from the research grants and plaques that they will receive.

The committees will also look into the need for the Regional Gawad Saka coordinators to re-orient provincial and municipal coordinators on the qualifications of the nominees under the rice category. They also proposed for the awarding ceremony to be held in May to coincide with the Farmers' and Fisherfolk's Month. Once approved by the Department of Agriculture (DA), these recommendations are expected to take effect in 2018.

The Gawad Saka is the DA’s awards program held annually since 1970 to recognize the achievement of Filipino farmers, fisherfolk, and agricultural organizations. Last year, the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI) served as the national secretariat that assisted the national, executive, support, and regional search committees in the selection of winners for the 22 categories.

In his message read by ATI OIC-Director Luz Taposok, DA Undersecretary for Operations Ariel Cayanan underscored the importance of the evaluation workshop in exploring enhancements in the selection procedure and the criteria as such will also serve as the backbone of the activities for the next national executive committee. He also added the significance of the Gawad Saka Search in today’s agricultural landscape as it serves as a way for the DA to “give utmost importance to the Filipinos’ efforts in innovating ways to cope up with the dynamic sector and to sustain development.”

Attended by around 60 participants, the Gawad Saka evaluation workshop was held last February 7 to 10, 2017 at the Training Center for Tropical Resources and Ecosystem Sustainability, College of Forestry and Natural Resources, University of the Philippines in this town.