Two islanders win in DA search for Bicol’s outstanding women farmers

OUTSTANDING RURAL WOMAN OF BICOL Cristina Torreda of Yocti, San Andres (right) and 1st runner-up Sonia
Padilla of Buhi, San Miguel, flanking Gov. Joseph Cua, proudly show off the prizes they won at the Department of
Agriculture (DA) regional office’s “Gawad Parangal sa Katangi-tanging Kababaihan sa Pagsasaka at Pangingisda sa
Kanayunan” last Nov. 15, 2021.

Two women farmers from Catanduanes ended up first and second in the Department of Agriculture (DA)
Regional Field Office 5’s “Gawad Parangal sa Katangi-tanging Kababaihan sa Pagsasaka at Pangingisda
sa Kanayunan” recently.
Cristina L. Torreda, who owns Cristina’s Strawberry Farm in Yocti, San Andres, was declared the 2021
Regional Outstanding Rural Woman of Bicol.
She received P50,000 cash and an Agri-Pinay Loan Assistance of P100,000 conduit from the Camarines
Sur Multi-Purpose Cooperative.
Many farmer-adopters are inspired by Cristina’s burning passion for agriculture, with her consistency,
resiliency, and willingness to learn encouraging them to be more agriculturally-involved, the Office of the
Provincial Agriculturist (OPAg) said in a press statement.
In a video presentation submitted to the search committee, Cristina shared that her venture kicked off on
Sept. 25, 2018 when she sold 130 pieces of strawberries she had grown on her farm.
She said she worked on enhancing her skills through self-study by watching video tutorials online where
she acquired new knowledge and thought of applying the same technology in her farm.
The farm is now engaging in hydrophonic gardening while seedlings of various fruit trees and keafy
vegetables are also being offered for sale. Tourists can avail of overnight stay and lodging services at the
farm, which has indirectly provided additional income to tricycle drivers in Yocti.
Another Catandunganon, Sonia S. Padilla of Buhi, San Miguel, was named as the 1st runner-up in the
same search, for which she received P30,000.

GREEN-THUMBED Cristina Torreda checks the growth of the herbs she is growing through hydrophonics along with
lettuce and other fresh produce at her farm in Yocti, San Andres.

Through her skill in “pakbet”-type vegetable production, she was able to fund the education of all her
children, who are now all degree holders and employed in the San Miguel municipal government.
In a courtesy call at the provincial capitol, the two outstanding women farmers expressed their gratitude to
Governor Joseph C. Cua, the OPAg headed by Ms. Nelia B. Teves, the San Andres Municipal Agriculture
Office, the San Miguel Municipal Agriculture Office, and the people who worked with them for the valuable
support and encouragement.
During the Nov. 15, 2021 awarding ceremony in Naga City, DA’s Evelyn Lavińa, Undersecretary for High
Value Crops and Rural Credit, recognized the exemplary contributions of rural women to change lives
through agriculture despite the hardships brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“May paraan parati ang mga babae,” she stated, sharing that women are now innovative to make ends
USec. Lavińa also said that Secretary William Dar is very appreciative of the tireless efforts of ordinary
women to dismantle unjust gender practices.
The event was also attended by various personnel from the DA – RFO 5 as well as the Outstanding Rural
Women runner-ups from other Bicol provinces.

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