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World Food 2008 unites agricultural workers in Caraga

The Department of Agriculture RFU 13 together with its LGU counterparts and attached agencies once again celebrated World Food Week last October 20-24 with this year's theme "World Food Security: The Challenges of Climate Change and Bio-energy.

The week-long celebration opened with a Fun Walk on the 20th at 6:30 in the morning and was then followed by a mass and an opening program. DA RFU-13 Regional Executive Director Ricardo C. Regis in his message challenged all the participants which include the agricultural workers, DA employees and its attached agencies to have enthusiasm in their work so that the agriculture sector can move towards development faster.

On the other hand, keynote speaker Lyndo G. Villacorta, DOST Regional Director said that the right to food is a right of every Filipino but that there are a number of elements that pose a threat to this right, one of which is climate change. He added that climate has always played a decisive role in Agriculture, it can either boost production or it can be destructive. So it is left in the hands of the people to join hands and work together and not allow the Filipinos to go hungry.

The employees took part in several activities including games like basketball, volleyball, table tennis, dart and chess. There were also cultural games and a Musical / Dance Extravaganza.

The participants were grouped into eight teams. Team Buhawi was made up of DA-RFU 13 employees. Team La Niña was composed of NIA, NFA and QUEDANCOR. Team Habagat composed the BFAR, NMIS and PCA while team Amihan comprised LGU- Surigao del Norte and Surigao City. Team El Niño was composed of ATI, PhilRice, BAS, and FIDA while Tandag, Surigao del Sur and Bislig made up the team Solar Storm. Team Tsunami was composed of Cabadbaran, Butuan City and Agusan del Norte employees. And lastly, Floods team was made up of Bayugan City and Agusan del Sur employees.

Another highlight of the World Food Week this year was the conduct of the first Agricultural Extension Workers Congress which was held at the Balanghai Hotel with some 800 extension workers attending the activity. Representatives for the different banner programs of the Department of Agriculture gave updates and the participants were also given time to ask questions. Former Agriculture Secretary Salvador H. Escudero also graced the affair as the keynote speaker.

The World Food Week ended with an Awarding Ceremony, during which another former secretary of the Department of Agriculture, Domingo F. Panganiban, now NAPC Lead Convenor graced the affair and gave a message. He said that seven (7) out of ten (10) provinces identified by the National Census and Statistics Board are poor provinces and are located in Mindanao. He said that the challenge in terms of food production lies most in the hands of the agricultural workers. He also said that the week-long celebration gave the participants a chance to unwind not only to be mentally proficient but also physically capable in tackling their tasks.

The over-all champion of this year's WF celebration was team Solar Storm (Surigao del Sur delegation), while teams Floods (Agusan del Sur) and Tsunami (Agusan del Norte /Butuan City) came in 2nd and 3rd respectively. Team Floods also bagged the award for being the biggest delegation. (DA-13/PIA-Caraga)

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