BONTOC, MOUNTAIN PROVINCE, PHILIPPINES—The Special Area for Agricultural Development (SAAD) conducted a consultation meeting attended by the representatives of the Municipal Local Government Units (MLGUs). The activity was held in Archog Hotel and Restaurant, Bontoc, Mountain Province on the 29th of January 2018.
Providing full support was no less than the Governor of Mountain Province, Hon. Bonifacio Lacwasan, Jr., who was joined by representatives from SAAD Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) and National Program Management Office (NPMO). The Provincial Agriculturist of Mountain Province, Mr. John Likigan, was also present.
Based from the Philippine Statistics Agency (PSA), Mountain Province is among the poorest provinces (with poverty incidence rate among families of 29.5 % as of 2015) in the Philippines making the province eligible as one (1) of two (2) 2019 additional SAAD Provinces along with Kalinga (with 30 % poverty incidence rate among families) for CAR.
Concepts of ‘cash for asset’ and ‘roll-over scheme’ was brought up, along with the ideal existence of farmer associations that will sell and dictate the price of their produce, ultimately leading to the Program aim of augmenting the Department of Agriculture (DA) banner programs in increasing food production and alleviating poverty in priority provinces where the poverty incidence is high.
For the farmer’s side, SAAD Program Director Bernadette F. San Juan suggested to focus on the marketing side of the province’s produce as well, rather than on its production stage alone.
In 2017, the Department of Agriculture (DA) started a new program known as SAAD that shall augment the regular programs in increasing food production and alleviating poverty in priority provinces where poverty incidence is high.
Attendees are hopeful that their barangays will also ‘graduate from poverty’ after the SAAD Program commences to a close by year 2022.
Even though monetary return of investments may take time to materialize, Ms. Hazel Fagyan of Paracelis, Mountain Province stressed the importance of labor and hard work in leaving a legacy through the SAAD Program.
Further, Ms. Jane Tumapang, in behalf of the Provincial Agriculturist, said that being poor may have its disadvantages that makes poor people feel small, but at the same time it is a leverage in being eligible to badly needed assistance.
Writer: Ela Arciaga, PR & Communications Officer
Source/s: https://psa.gov.ph/content/poverty-incidence-among-filipinos-registered-216-2015-psa | https://psa.gov.ph/sites/default/files/2015_povstat_FINAL.pdf | https://psa.gov.ph/sites/default/files/Report%20on%20the%202012%20Full%20Year%20Poverty%20Statistics_0_0.pdf