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In 2019, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nation (FAO-UN) published a policy and programmatic review which seeks greater coherence between social protection and agriculture in the Philippines. In the article are the corresponding SAAD initiatives following FAO’s recommendations. The Philippine Statistics Authority and National Economic Development Authority both attributed the SAAD Program as a contributor to the country's agriculture performance and poverty reduction in the Eastern Visayas Region in 2018. Two farmers in the province testified that they now have stable income after being included as recipients of the Php 11.2 million worth of CoViD-19 mitigation projects funded by the Special Area for Agricultural Development (SAAD) Program in 2019. SAAD Region 11 year-end distribution promotes poultry farming among Mansaka IP community and ELCAC covered barangay in New Bataan. Finishing strong this year, SAAD Davao de Oro helps strengthen public-private partnership and completes upgraded goat production project for FY 2020 through its final delivery in the municipality of Laak. Still under rehabilitation, the Special Area for Agricultural Development (SAAD) Masbate rice farmers harvested a combined total of 1,350 bags (59.52 t) palay in the last quarter of 2020 from the Rice Production Package component of the program. The Local Government Unit (LGU) of Mountain Province eyed the Channeg Farmer’s Association (CFA) as one of the leading egg distributors as it is the first farmers’ organization engaged in the Department of Agriculture’s (DA) Table Egg Production Project. Most egg distributors in the province are from private entities. Department of Agriculture (DA) Undersecretary for Operations and Special Area for Agricultural Development (SAAD) Program Steering Committee (PSC) Chairperson USec Ariel T. Cayanan recommended upscaling the SAAD beneficiaries to promote livelihood sustainability. The Department of Agriculture in Region 8 delivered gilts, feeds, drugs, and biologics worth Php 3,409,940.00 from the Swine Production Project on August 27 to four farmer's associations (FA) in Liloan, Southern Leyte. Each FA is expected to earn around Php 20,000.00 by selling piglets from the livelihood project provided by the Special Area for Agricultural Development Program. The Department of Agriculture (DA) Special Area for Agricultural Development (SAAD) Program served 23,534 farmers and fisherfolk during the FY 2020 program implementation in its 30 priority provinces as reported during the National Program Management Office (NPMO) Year-End Assessment on December 14 to 16, 2020. Mandaya indigenous people (IP) community of Brgy. Mangayon, Compostela received components for DA-SAAD Region 11's Native Chicken Production Program right before Christmas in a pandemic. SAAD Program Director Dr. Myer G. Mula emphasized the distinction between the general contexts of “poor” versus the “landed-poor” communities (most often the ICCs/IPs) and how miscalculations in development program implementation further widens the social gap, putting the ICCs/IPs in a disadvantaged position. Atat Alih, a 68-year-old farmer from Brgy. Tubod, Talipao, Sulu, is thankful for the income he makes through the Department of Agriculture (DA) – Special Area for Agricultural Development (SAAD) Program’s Diversified Farming Project. Special Area for Agricultural Development (SAAD) Program beneficiaries from 11 farmers’ associations earned Php 51,732 during the “Kadiwa ni Ani at Kita, Locally Sourced: A Gardening & Fresh Local Produce Fair” organized by the Department of Agriculture (DA) Region 8 on November 27-30, 2020 in Tacloban City. Department of Agriculture (DA) Assistant Secretary for Agribusiness Kristine Evangelista committed Php 1 million worth of agribusiness assistance and another Php 1 million for the procurement of adlai mills for the Impasugong farmers during the Special Area for Agriculture Development (SAAD) Program’s turnover ceremony of a livelihood project worth Php 4.5 million. The Department of Agriculture (DA) – Special Area for Agricultural Development (SAAD) Program delivered inputs for the FY 2020 Rice-Duck Production Project, complemented with a one-day training, to the Rizalina Farmers' Association (33 members) in Rizal, Zamboanga del Norte. The Dampalan Farmers' Association (FA) received 125 bags of unshelled peanuts and 300 bags of organic fertilizer from the Department of Agriculture (DA) Region IX- Special Area for Agricultural Development (SAAD) Program as part of the FY 2020 Corn and Peanut Production in Zamboanga del Norte. Before the year ends, Davao de Oro farmer-beneficiaries of the Department of Agriculture (DA) - Special Area for Agricultural Development (SAAD) Program received final components of their Upgraded Goat Program. In the pre-assessment activity of the Department of Agriculture (DA) – Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) from December 2 to 3, Special Area for Agricultural Development (SAAD) Program reported 94% or Php 135,588,000 were obligated out of Php 143,951,000 total budget for 2020. However, only 18% or Php 24,518,000 was disbursed as of November 30, 2020. The said data just resulted in 17% utilization rate. Bukidnon locals may expect growth in cattle industry as the Department of Agriculture (DA) reported 59 births and 48 pregnancies from the 350 cattle dispersed by the Special Area for Agricultural Development (SAAD) Program in 2018 under the Cattle Production Project. Five (5) towns from Misamis Occidental received Php 7.7 million worth of Integrated Agricultural Livelihood Project from the Special Area for Agricultural Development (SAAD) Program for FY 2020 held at the municipalities of Baliangao and Aloran. Secretary William Dar of the Department of Agriculture (DA) led the turnover of Php 10.4 million worth of livelihood projects to the eight local government units (LGUs) of Lanao Del Norte through the Special Area for Agricultural Development (SAAD) Program. Twelve farmers’ associations with 938 members from the province will benefit from the livelihood projects. 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 Department of Agriculture (DA) Region 9 trained 60 members of the Nacibac Mountainside Farmers Association (FA) to successfully manage Special Area for Agricultural Development (SAAD) projects on coffee production and native chicken raising. BFAR-SAAD Region 11 fisherfolk concluded the last quarter with abundant fish harvest from Marine Fish Cage Project.

The Special Area for Agricultural Development (SAAD) is a locally-funded program of the Department of Agriculture (DA), intended to help alleviate poverty among the marginalized sectors on agriculture and fishery.

Coined after the Visayan word “saad” which means promise, the SAAD Program is a breakthrough of former 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 priority provinces with high poverty incidence rate among families have been given assistance in both agriculture and fisheries since year 2017.

In the midst of 2019, Piñol’s former administration was turned over to now DA Secretary William D. Dar.

Secretary Dar brought with him his New Thinking for Agriculture geared towards a food-secure Philippines with prosperous farmers and fisherfolk.

His eight paradigms of “New Thinking” for Agriculture paved the way to continue and strengthen the SAAD Program implementation in his leadership to realize his twin goals of increasing productivity and making farmers and fishers prosperous or his term’s battlecry, “Masaganang Ani at Mataas na Kita”.

The SAAD Program, headed by Director Myer G. Mula, aims to give agricultural interventions on animals, crops, and fisheries (capture fishery and aquaculture) to identified beneficiaries with the help of corresponding offices in the regional and provincial levels.

The SAAD Program is composed of four major components – 1) Program Management, 2) Social Preparation, 3) Production and Livelihood Interventions, and 4) Marketing Assistance and Enterprise Development.

Program Management

The Program Management component comprises activities that are operational and preparatory in nature to ensure efficient and effective program implementation. It also includes monitoring and evaluation to draw relevant inputs to enhance practices and policies.

Production and Livelihood Interventions

The Production and Livelihood Interventions component, on the other hand, will entail the livelihood projects to be given based on the assessed needs of the recipients. Interventions given to selected beneficiaries are animals, crops, fisheries production and post-production inputs, tools, machinery, facilities, and equipment to improve their farm and fish production practices and productivity.

Social Preparation

The Social Preparation component will encompass a series of training (including needs assessments) in order to ensure readiness and empowerment of the SAAD beneficiaries in accepting and managing the program. It also includes coordinating with partner-agencies and organizations for possible collaboration.

Marketing Assistance and Enterprise Development

The Marketing Assistance and Enterprise Development component corresponds to the program’s initiatives to help communities create enterprises by establishing market linkages and providing technical assistance and logistic support.


By 2022, SAAD will be the leading agricultural development program and resource mobilization service of the Department of Agriculture, undertaking intensified social venture initiatives to increase food production and alleviate identified farmers and fisherfolk from poverty.



We contribute to the poverty alleviation of 30 priority provinces with high poverty incidences and areas covered by Executive Order No. 70 (series of 2018) through:

  • Social Preparation that empowers marginalized Farmers and Fisherfolk;
  • Intensified Production and Livelihood Interventions responsive to assessed needs; and
  • Partnerships with the local government units, private sector, and other government agencies and stakeholders.
SAAD Program Framework

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte
Republic of the Philippines

William D. Dar, Ph. D.
Secretary, Department of Agriculture

Myer G. Mula, Ph. D.
Program Director


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