TACLOBAN CITY, LEYTE – “I think hindi imposible na target namin ay maging number one in the SAAD areas in terms of physical (distribution) and financial utilization”, said Special Area for Agricultural Development (SAAD) Region 8 Focal Person Dr. Andrew Rodolfo T. Orais.
With a 97% obligation rate and a low disbursement rate in 2017, SAAD Program implementers in the Department of Agriculture – Regional Field Office (DA-RFO) 8 shared that they have learned from their previous experience that is why they aim to obligate and disburse at least 90% of their FY2018 fund by midyear.
Dr. Orais said that they have to shorten the time of implementation by improving their strategies and efficiency in their delivery system. They also plan to reserve the last quarter of the year for the preparation of their 2019 implementation.
The provinces of Northern, Eastern & Western Samar from Region 8 are among the 10 priority provinces of the SAAD Program in the year 2017. For this year, another two provinces from the region were included in the SAAD Program, which are Leyte and Southern Leyte.
The said provinces are inhabited by families with income way below the poverty threshold in their respective provinces. One example is Alfredo Amoyan and his family from Barangay San Isidro, General MacArthur, Eastern Samar.
Mr. Amoyan is a SAAD farmer-beneficiary of Eastern Samar’s rice production enhancement project, wherein he was given one sack of Certified Seeds (CS) Bigante variety, six sacks of organic fertilizer, two sacks of complete fertilizer, two sacks of urea, and one sack of muriate of potash. His family’s average monthly income is about Php 4,000.00, which is below the poverty threshold income of Php 9,536.00 for a family of five in Eastern Samar.
With this reality, SAAD Region 8 continuously strives harder to help their farmer-beneficiaries be uplifted from poverty by providing them with agricultural livelihood interventions and by socially preparing them through trainings.
An improved way to socially prepare Region 8 farmers
As a typhoon-stricken area, Dr. Orais said that they are trying to integrate the Adaptation and Mitigation Initiative in Agriculture (AMIA) concept in their region’s SAAD Program to better prepare their farmers when calamities hit.
“Being the AMIA focal person, nakikita ko yung importance na unti-unting ime-mainstream naten ang mga climate-resilient agriculture practices sa farming activity ng SAAD beneficiaries,” Dr. Orais said, as he saw the need for adapting AMIA’s mission in the SAAD.
At this point, with the recent deliveries of their agricultural interventions – such as rice, swine, and chicken – Dr. Orais can now see the difference, though little, that the SAAD brings to Region 8’s farmers. He said, “The way SAAD implements now, nafi-feel namin na very happy ang mga partners (farmers) naten kasi well-informed sila about the program. Halos ma-memorize na nila ang SAAD kasi madali dahil it means promise.”
SAAD Region 8 intends to deliver their interventions earlier not only to achieve their 90% obligation and disbursement by midyear 2018 but also to create an immediate impact on the lives of the farmers.
Writer: Jhomai S. Canlas, SAAD PR & Communications Officer