The Special Area for Agricultural Development (SAAD) is a locally-funded program of the Department of Agriculture (DA) that is intended to help alleviate poverty among the marginalized sectors on agriculture and fishery. Coined after the Bisaya word “saad” which means promise, the SAAD is a breakthrough of DA secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol as part of the thrust of President Rodrigo Duterte to increase food production and reduce poverty in the Philippines.
Through the SAAD program, a total of 30 provinces have been given assistance in both agriculture and fisheries. DA-SAAD National Program Management Office (NPMO), headed by Director Bernadette F. San Juan, aims to give agricultural interventions together to identified beneficiaries with its corresponding offices in the regional and provincial levels. Whereas, the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) headed by its Undersecretary and National Director Commodore Eduardo B. Gongona, is providing assistance on the fishery side.
The SAAD Program is composed of two major components – the Social Preparation and the Livelihood Interventions. The former will encompass the series of training (including needs assessments) in order to ensure readiness and empowerment of the SAAD beneficiaries in accepting and managing the interventions being provided by the program. The latter, on the other hand, will entail livelihood projects to be given based on the assessed needs of the recipients.
By 2022, SAAD is the lead agricultural development program and resource mobilization service of the Department of Agriculture undertaking intensified social venture initiatives to increase food production and alleviate poverty.
We implement poverty alleviation programs through:
- Social Preparation that empowers marginalized Farmers and Fisherfolk;
- Intensified Production and Livelihood Interventions responsive to assessed needs; and
- Partnerships with Private Sector and other members of the Government’s Human Development and Poverty Reduction Cluster.
Back in his term as the former governor of North Cotabato (1998-2007), Emmanuel F. Piñol, now Agriculture Secretary, initiated an agri-related anti-poverty program in the said province named after the Visayan word ‘SAAD’ which means a promise. Through his good will and dedication, the Special Area for Agricultural Development Program took place and was able to provide aid in his home province. Part of its impact was the
alleviation of poverty in North Cotabato thus lifting the province out of the top ten poorest provinces in the country in 2007 with reduced poverty incidence rate (from 52% down to 29% based on the Philippine Statistics Authority data). Upon his take over as the head of the Department of Agriculture, Sec. Piñol brought along with him his brainchild program with the purpose of bringing it into a nationwide spectrum.
Thus, the Special Area for Agricultural Development (SAAD) was officially launched as one of DA’s programs in 2016.
The SAAD program will last for six years catering a total of thirty (30) provinces through the provision of both social preparation and livelihood interventions.