Calatagan-Tibang RIC Vies for National Gawad Saka Award

The Rural Improvement Club (RIC) of Calatagan-Tibang in Virac is a strong bet to win at the national level of the 2012 Gawad Saka, the annual search for outstanding achievers in agriculture and fisheries.

Last week, a panel of evaluators from the National Technical Committee spent over two days in Virac interviewing members of the club and inspecting their home-based livelihood projects. Governor Joseph Cua, Mayor Cito Alberto, Provincial Agricultural & Fishery Council (PAFC) chair Ulysses Tabelin and Virac MAFC chair Jorge Reyes led local agriculture officials in welcoming the panel at Rakdell Inn.

The evaluators - Dr. Gina Nilo of the Bureau of Soil and Water Management (BSWM), Emiliana Mayor of the National Agriculture and Fishery Council (NAFC) and Alicia Rose Nebreja of the Agricultural Training Institute – arrived Aug. 29 and interviewed the RIC members that same afternoon.

In his message, Gov. Cua said that winning the Gawad Saka this year will become a lasting testimony of the provincial government’s strong resolve to improve the lives of Catandunganons and inspire local officials to work even harder in sustaining endeavors in agricultural development.

The nomination comes three years after the Catanduanes PAFC won the national award in the 2009 Gawad Saka during Cua’s first term as provincial chief executive. Group winners in the search are given a Presidential citation and trophy and a project grant worth P15,000 from DA-NAFC.

Headed by Susan Padin as president, Calatagan-Tibang RIC started its productive endeavors in 2009 with a communal vegetable garden with a capital of just P600 from members’ contribution. To date, the club has total savings of P123,696.00 as their capital build-up, with members saving at least P20 per week from their income-generating projects such as swine breeding/fattening, native chicken production, agri products vending, crop production, buy-and-sell, RTW and others funded by the club through its relending program.

To dispel the dole-out mentality, the club resolved to that members pay a reasonable interest rate on assistance from the P100,000 from the Livelihood Enhancement for Agricultural Development (LEAD) program, resulting in a 100 percent repayment rate for their swine breeding projects.

Source: Catanduanes Tribune