QUEZON CITY, November 27, 2020 – Assistance Secretary (ASec) Jonji Gonzales from Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas recognized the Special Area for Agricultural Development (SAAD) Program for addressing food security and poverty in Negros Occidental.
The Pandanon Integrated Upland Small Farmers Association (PIUSFA) with 95 members from Barangay Pandanon, Salvador Benedicto is one of the covered beneficiaries of the SAAD Program since 2019.
The group received agricultural assistance amounting to more than Php 1.8 million for Lowland Vegetable Production consisting of 1,800 grams of ampalaya seeds, 300 grams of eggplant seeds, and 300 grams of squash seeds. They also received farm tools, such as spades, spading forks, trowels, rakes, and rolls of water hose.
In a report broadcasted at the Network Briefing News with host Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Martin Andanar, Gonzales said, “Because of the assistance provided by SAAD, the association was able to increase the vegetable production and was able to sell to the local market. `Dati ang vegetable produce nila para lang sa pagkain ng kanilang pamilya´ (Before, their vegetable produce were meant for their family’s consumption only).”
To produce chemical-free vegetables, the SAAD Program also provided natural attractants for beneficial insects to enhance pollination or give natural pest protection.
`Layunin ng famers group na maging sustainable producer ng organically grown, chemical-free vegetables sa Negros Occidental´ (The farmers group aims to be a sustainable producer of organically grown, chemical-free vegetables in Negros Occidental),” Gonzales said. They hope to achieve this goal through all the interventions they obtained and by practicing the technologies conveyed by the SAAD Program.
In 2021, the association is set to receive additional vegetable seeds and farm tools amounting to more than Php 366,000.
SAAD Implementation in Negros Occidental
Negros Occidental was covered by the SAAD Program in 2019 due to its high poverty incidence among families in 2015, which is at 29.5%.
Salvador Benedicto is the only covered municipality with 160 individuals and 24 groups as beneficiaries. Seven livelihood projects related to rice, vegetable, banana, coffee, cacao, native chicken, goat, and corn production amounting to Php 18,637,200 were implemented in 2019.
Writer: Jemiema Arro, DA SAAD NPMO, PR and Communication Officer