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Thursday, March 5, 2015

Inland fish farmer bags 2014 TOFARM awards

By Franklin P. Gumapon

He is an ordinary man with extraordinary achievements.

For the second time Velly Marcial Naciongayo, 38, of Sebucao, Dumalinao, Zamboanga del Sur emerged as one of the winners of the 2014 Search for The Outstanding Farmers of the Philippinesor TOFARM Awards sponsored by the Junior Chamber International (JCI) Philippines and the Universal Harvester, Inc.

Velly, as fondly called by relatives and friends, is a cogent proof that outstanding people do not only come from the ranks of prominent personalities but from ordinary folks as well.

He received his award on Jan. 30, 2015 at Makati Shangri La, Makati City after beating other nominees in the “ best bid book” category for the 2014 TOFARM awards.

To get firsthand information from Velly about his new award, this writer visited him at his residence with Alma Tingcang, Gideon Corgue, Victoriano Villacruz and Juan PestaƱas in company. The group arrived at Velly’s house at around 9:30 a.m.

As we alighted the vehicle, Velly’s wife, Ardilyn - in wet clothes as she just started to bathe - met us and had us sit ona wooden bench near a pond teeming with Koi fish. A few seconds later,Velly joined us and obliged every question with direct and clear answers.

Best Bid Book

Velly’s new“outstanding farmer award” is a sequel to a similar citation he received in 2013 from the JCI Philippines and the Universal Harvester under the fisher folk category for promoting inland fresh water fish farming.

In an article written by Alma Tingcang about his 2013 TOFARM award, Velly was recognized for raising fresh water and ornamental fish particularly the “Koi fish” from which he is earning for a living.

The board of judges also took note of his efforts at organizing the Backyard Aquatic Gardeners Association (BAGA), which has more than 20 members now, as an indicator that Velly is creating a positive change in the community.

In 2014 his write up about aquatic farming has earned him the outstanding farmer award under the “Best Bid Book” category. The board of judges found this young farmer unselfish in sharing his practical knowledge and skills in raising fresh water and ornamental fish.

Biggest sale

“Raising Koi fish is fun because you will enjoy their colorful features and they command a better price,” said Velly.

Velly is selling a Koi fingerling at P10 each and the big one at P1,000 each. But the “breeder” is sold at P30-50 thousand each. And the biggest sale he got in one deal was P120 thousand.

Money in farming

Right after he finished his Bachelor of Science in Marine Transportation, he went to Manila to find employment in shipping companies, but to no avail. He went home empty-handed.

Although Velly still entertains the idea of working for any shipping company, he busies himself with his aquatic farming, which started out as his hobby in high school that became a thriving industry. He really believes that there is money in farming.

LGU support

The municipal government of Dumalinao has always been extending its support to Velly. In fact, Municipal Agriculturist Ponciano Edano always visits his fishponds and gives him pieces of advice ranging from fish breeding, feeding to harvesting and marketing.

To make every farmer in this town productive, Mayor Ace William E. Cerilles is putting premium on the development of agriculture in the area. Achievements of any farmer are duly recognized by the municipal leadership in order to encourage others to follow suit.

Velly is an epitome of an ideal farmer in his community, setting a very good example to his fellow farmers. And this is his biggest contribution to his town.