LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – Rebecca R. Faustino of Nalseb, Ambassador, Tublay vies for the National Gawad Saka High Value Crops Farmer Category.
A native of Buguias, she is fully aware of the effects of pesticides to a person’s body because she is a cancer survivor, one of the reasons why she reconsidered to follow GAP certification to ensure the production of safe and quality vegetable products for their own consumption and that of potential consumers.
Faustino is the owner and manager of the La Faustino Farm, one of the first PhilGAP-registered farms in the Cordillera. She is helped by her husband Lito and their youngest son Rex who was convinced by his mother to work full time in the farm. When more hands are needed, she hires farm workers. They produce high-value crops such as bell pepper, broccoli, tomato, lettuce, arugula, spinach, and strawberry.
Jallyne Remoquillo and Julie Solis from the Department of Agriculture Central Office-High Value Crops and Development Program and Flora A. Jarilla and Lorna Villegas from Bureau of Plant and Industries-Los Baños composed the validation team that assessed Ms. Rebecca Faustino. The validation team interviewed and went around the farm to validate the documents submitted to them.
Among the 14 regions that submitted their entries to the said category, 7 were shortlisted and Faustino was included as a national finalist. The validation team are in the process of validating the shortlisted finalists by the end of September of this year. The National Gawad Saka Winners will be proclaimed in October.
“I have been praying for this award because I have done my very best not to frustrate the Department of Agriculture and the Municipality of Tublay who are helping me,” Faustino said during the validation. She added that she wanted to share all the good practices they do in their farm so that other farmers will also enjoy working in their own farms. She encourages other farmers to adopt their good practices so that they can become partners in meeting the demand of the market. She ended by saying that “in farming there is a future.”
The team was assisted by DA-CAR HVCDP Focal Person Joan Bacbac, Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation Chief Susan Balanza, APCO Gabriel Pacio of Benguet, Municipal Agriculturist Jeffrey Sotero of Tublay, and Committee on Agriculture Chairman Reynaldo Sotero of Tublay Sangguniang Bayan.
By Karen T. Gawigawen