“Ang SAAD ay isang instrumento para sa kaunlaran.”
To secure inclusiveness and diversity in every community, each sector should strategically plan to cater to the needs of all ages. Aging should be seen as an opportunity to capitalize on the wide work experience and wisdom of the older group.
Some significant resources of the old age sector rest on the state-backed incentives, and retirement benefits or pension. However, it is worth considering that a number of old-age citizens in the country do not have access to this kind of state service. This is possible most especially in the rural areas with high poverty incidence.
Since some old age sector members need to sustain personal and family needs such as food, shelter, and other health commodities, they are still considered fit to participate in productive or entrepreneurial activities.
This is why initiatives and development projects fostering the work potentials of senior citizens are important especially to the rural marginalized areas where access to state incentives and benefits are scarce and poverty avoids them without a choice. Some limitations may arise, but the need for continued education towards modernization and alternative means of farming shall hopefully address this.
The Department of Agriculture – Special Area for Agricultural Development (DA-SAAD) Program offers educational activities to beneficiaries guiding them from project initiation to implementation to technical support. Capacity building is incorporated into one of the main components of the program called social preparation.
The initiative, in partnership with regional and provincial agricultural offices and other attached agencies such as the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI), introduces and updates competencies, as well as encouraging beneficiaries to be more competitive and efficient in production.
Tatay David’s profitable swine production
Mr. David Gregory, 60, is a father of 12 who earned Php 78,000 in one year of rearing swine from the Department of Agriculture – Special Area for Agricultural Development’s (DA-SAAD) Swine Production Project in Sitio Malabog, Brgy Pili, Magallanes, Sorsogon.
In August 2020, Tatay David received four piglets (a gilt and three boars) as a recipient of the livelihood project. The gilt produced 12 piglets in April 2021.
In May 2021, he handed down the two piglets to the next-in-line beneficiary as a distribution and sustainability measure of the association. He then sold six piglets at Php 3,000/head attaining an income of Php 18,000. The remaining four piglets were cared for as fatteners.
Meanwhile, the local government unit (LGU) Magallanes through the assistance of the Municipal Agriculturist Office (MAO) closely monitored the hog industry within the locality for possible African Swine Fever (ASF) carriers.
They put up ASF checkpoints at the borders of Magallanes to control the entrants of hogs in the LGU. Livestock enumerators also monitored the swine of the beneficiaries to control and safe-keep the swine production in Magallanes including Tatay David’s.
With some areas still affected by ASF, there was a noticeable increase in the price of lightweight hogs.
In July 2021, David Gregory then decided to sell the four piglets at Php15,000/head, doubling his expected income.
Tatay David’s swine production project accumulated an income of Php 78,000 from May to July 2021.
With his earnings, he managed to pay for the tuition fee of his two children who are both in college. The earnings also covered other school-related expenses. In addition, he purchased a refrigerator and a dish cabinet for household use.
Banking on wide farming experience
Before SAAD, Tatay David worked in a coconut farm (copra) and a rice farm with his wife, Mrs. Shirley Gregory, where they get their primary source of income.
Aside from rendering farm labor, SAAD’s swine project significantly improved his family’s income source making room to finance other expenses of the family.
While training activities of the program have been hampered due to the health protocols restricting mass gatherings, SAAD temporarily intensifies localized technical assistance, providing biologics, and project monitoring. However, as soon as restrictions ease up, they will receive training and preparation for production expansion.
Currently, Tatay David and his wife are focused on increasing their swine and is currently on their second cycle of production. The couple is overwhelmed by the success of their swine production which helped sustain their family in time of the pandemic. “Taos puso po akong nagpapasalamat sa SAAD Program na aktibohon sa pag tabang sa mga pobreng arog mi. Sana padagos na sumuporta ang SAAD dahil amo ini an saamong handungan sa buhay,” he shared.
[I sincerely thank SAAD Program who actively helps poor people like us. I hope that they will continue supporting us because SAAD is our relief.]###
Writer: Pauline Trixia Borja, SAAD Sorsogon Information Officer
Editors: Myer Mula, Ulysses Lustria, Jr., Jhomai Canlas, and Jessa Mae Gabon
Allen Jao, Area Coordinator of Magallanes
David Gregory, SAAD beneficiary
Photo Sources: SAAD Program Sorsogon