EASTERN VISAYAS—Countless agricultural programs/projects that aim to help farmers and fisherfolk improve their lot in life had been initiated. Many have succeeded, while others were not as effective. This is commendable on the part of our government functionaries, Non-Government Organizations (NGOs), and other stakeholders who try their best to make a dent in the farmers’ economic status. For sure, there are factors—or a combination of them—that influence the success or failure of these initiatives. These include climate variability of which the country is vulnerable; availability of agricultural infrastructures, market, and credit facilities; economic conditions in the localities that favor productivity; and synergy of government assistance from concerned agencies; among others.
The Special Area for Agricultural Development (SAAD) Program—launched in 2017—continues to make breakthroughs in areas that were identified as poorest of the poor, and where marginalized farmers make their living. Farmer–partners engaged in swine production and fattening projects in Barangay Sabang, Oras, Eastern Samar—with their swine that just recently reached its marketable weight, were very pleased that they were able to earn from these endeavors and continue by multiplying the offspring.
Meanwhile, rice farmers in Brgy. MacArthur, Lavezares, Northern Samar realized the importance of complete farm inputs (complete fertilizers and urea) to achieve maximum harvest, as compared with no inputs at all.
In the expansion province of Southern Leyte, launching/orientation activities were conducted towards the end of May 2018 in nine (9) recipient municipalities. Some Local Chief Executives (LCEs) were on hand to lend full support to the different projects that will soon be implemented. Cassava and Corn Production Technology Trainings, as well as Swine Production and Management Training, were conducted beforehand to capacitate the project partners. Various capacity enhancement activities had also been completed in project areas of Northern Samar. These trainings were handled by the University of Eastern Philippines (UEP), which collaborated with DA–RFO 8 as the training arm in the implementation of SAAD Program.
A unique feature of the Program is that assistance to the farmers in the form of livelihood programs go directly to the individual—who were pre–identified according to a set of criteria—rather than to an association. As the livelihood program is tailored fit to their needs, the program’s impact is then more immediate and the benefits accrue to the individual and their family. Eventually, these beneficiaries will be organized into associations or cooperatives to further the interests of its members, as government institutions and funding agencies usually course their interventions through duly recognized and accredited groups.
Apparently, the Program is heading in the right direction. The Department of Agriculture (DA) recognizes its contribution to poverty alleviation efforts of the government through the interventions that were engaged in identified areas.
In the 15 June 2018 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer (PDI), the article, “DA’s Poverty Reduction Program Getting Bigger Budget,” stated that the SAAD Program had greatly helped the rural poor with its intervention programs since it started at the beginning of President Duterte’s term.
With the reservoir of goodwill that the Program has for the poor and marginalized farmers, it is not farfetched that the Agriculture Sector is set to move steadily forward, with SAAD Program taking the lead in poverty alleviation, hunger mitigation, and the overall growth and development of the country.
Writer: Michael F. Dabuet, DA-RFO 8 Adminstrative Officer III
Copy Editor: Ela Arciaga, SAAD NPMO PR & Communications Officer
Originally published on Peryodikit – June News Round-Up (Issue No. VII, Volume No. II Series of 2018), Department of Agriculture – Special Area for Agricultural Development Program (DA-SAAD) official publication