GENERAL SANTOS CITY, November 26, 2019 – The province of Sarangani conducted the final Special Area for Agricultural Development (SAAD) Saga event for 2019 which was attended by 314 farmer-beneficiaries at the Family Country Hotel.
The Department of Agriculture (DA) – Regional Field Office (RFO) 12 hosted the activity that aims to recognize the exceptional performance of farmer-partners of the SAAD Program.
Twelve farmers from seven municipalities of the province were nominated and contested for the recognition of the top three performers. They are Gorgonio Romasasa and Olivia Tata Yama of Glan; Sali Muda and Marites Enecito of Alabel; Loloy Kalintam, Dioscora Martin and Carmentica Nebres of Maasim; Maria Theresa Mante and Renato Salway of Malapatan; Ongpen Labi of Maitum; Roberto Naba of Malungon; and Zaldy Bansawan of Kiamba.
Corn and Vegetable Production beneficiary Dioscora Martin emerged as the top performer, who received a plaque and Php 100,000 worth of SAAD livelihood project. She was followed by Upland Rice Production Project beneficiary Gorgonio Romasasa and Corn Production Project beneficiary Carmentica Nebres, who also received plaques as well as Php 75,000 and Php 50,000 worth of projects, respectively.
Meanwhile, DA-RFO 12 also gave Php 20,000 worth of project as a consolation prize to each nominee.
About the event
The event was attended by key persons who made big contributions to the program. These include the SAAD National, Regional, and Provincial Management Support Offices; Provincial, Municipal, and Barangay Local Government Offices; Provincial and Municipal Agriculturists; Sarangani Tribal Council; and farmers.
On behalf of DA Secretary William Dar, SAAD Program Director Myer Mula shared the eight paradigms of “New Thinking” for Agriculture geared towards a food-secure Philippines with prosperous farmers and fisherfolk.
Also in his speech, he commended the SAAD Sarangani team, with the assistance of the local government units, for making significant contributions to the farmers’ lives, especially the Indigenous People. From the province’s 47.3% poverty incidence among families in 2015, the Philippines Statistics Authority reported an almost 7% reduction (40.5%) in the first semester of 2018. The SAAD Program is one of contributors in the province’s decrease in poverty rate.
He also emphasized that the program will be market-driven with community enterprises to be established as well as farmers and fisherfolk as entrepreneurs.
Sarangani Governor Steve Chiongbian Solon, who was supportive of the program since 2017, refreshed the farmers’ memories on his five guides to implement an effective Diversified Upland Rice Production. These are tithing, allocating for food consumption, securing seeds for the next planting season, sharing their blessings with other farmers, and marketing.
Meanwhile, each nominee set up a booth to showcase their products, mostly is upland rice, corn, and vegetables. The top three performers also shared their journey through presentations and video documentaries.
About Dioscora Martin
Forty-five-year-old Dioscora from Barangay Nomoh, Maasim is a beneficiary of SAAD Sarangani’s Corn and Vegetable Production Project in 2017. She received a sack of OPV white corn seeds and five packs of pinakbet seeds (bitter gourd, okra, eggplant, tomato, string beans, and squash).
In her presentation, she got emotional and thanked the program for changing her life. From a bahay kubo, she was able to build a cemented house for her family.
With her perseverance and determination, many have seen Cora’s growth as a backyard farmer. Her vegetable gardening became successful. She was able to reach many government agencies and non-government organizations, such as HOPE Foundation and East-West Company, who helped her with vegetable farming.
She is now a serious advocate of farming; pushing her neighbors to plant as well. ###
Writer: Jhomai Canlas, SAAD Public Relations and Communications Officer