Ilocos Norte’s ‘Mango King’ wins 2015 National Gawad Saka Award

Oct 22, 2015 ...

For the second time, the Department of Agriculture (DA) recognizes
Ilocano farmer Ricardo ‘Carding’ Tolentino of Laoag City, Ilocos
Norte as ‘Agri-Entrepreneur of the Year in National Gawad Saka Awards
2015.

Tolentino, who was also cited as an ‘Outstanding High-Value Cash Crop
Farmer’ in 2008, is acknowledged as the country’s ‘Mango King’
for owning a farm bearing thousands of full-grown mango trees complying
with GAP (good agricultural practices) in Vintar, Ilocos Norte.

“This award (Agri-Entrepreneur of the Year) is one of the hardest
categories (of the Gawad Saka Award) and your accomplishments should
definitely standout because your excellent contenders come from
vegetables, rice, corn production as well as those in fisheries and
livestock,” said Tolentino in Ilocano during an interview.

Meanwhile, Governor Imee R. Marcos commends Tolentino for his recent
feat as she has remained supportive of strengthening the mango industry
in Ilocos Norte.

In 2014, the Provincial Government of Ilocos Norte together with the DA
led the shelling out of funds totaling to P 4.7 million to help the
growers rehabilitate old mango trees.

With this, Tolentino has expressed her gratefulness to the provincial
government and continues to urge everyone to hold on to their
traditional Ilocano values of “being enduring, dedicated and faithful
to God” in achieving their dreams in life.

Despite finishing a college degree in a maritime school, Tolentino, 56,
revealed that “agriculture has always been a part of his life since he
was a child.”

“I grew up and lived with the help of agriculture and maybe this
became my edge among the others who have also vied for the award. I
struggled when I was young and agriculture is one of the reasons why I
have succeeded and established other businesses,” added Tolentino.

In addition to being an expert in managing mango trees, Tolentino also
has a fish pond, piggery, dragon fruit and vegetables farms and has
contracted other mango farms in the provinces of Cagayan, Ifugao and
Isabela.

Tolentino is also the president of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce
and Industry – Ilocos Norte Chapter who hosted the 24th North Luzon
Area Business Conference last July 2015.

The Gawad Saka Awards is an annual national search for outstanding
achievers in agriculture and fisheries which gives due recognition to
individuals and institutions whose exemplary contribution in the
country’s agricultural development are deemed worthy of emulation_.
_The regional awarding will be held on November 19 at La Union while the
national conferment will yet to be announced.

by John Michael Mugas



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