BUKIDNON, June 1, 2020 – The Municipal Agriculturist Coleen Alva C. Ambos acknowledged the Special Area for Agricultural Development (SAAD) Program of the Department of Agriculture (DA) as an instrument to the agricultural development of San Fernando. The town was funded with Php 3.2 million worth of agricultural assistance in 2018 (Php 2.2 million) and 2019 (Php 1 million) which benefitted 50 individual farmers.
Due to the high poverty incidence (63.2% – PSA 2012) rate among families, San Fernando was among the 13 municipalities in Bukidnon included as a beneficiary of SAAD in 2018. Since then, the Local Government Units (LGUs) started to receive interventions and assistance from the program.
“SAAD sparks agricultural development in San Fernando. The program has a great impact on our effort to uplift the living condition of our farmers.” Ambos said in an interview during a SAAD project monitoring visit in the town.
SAAD had provided hybrid corn seeds with complete fertilizers, high-value commercial crops seedlings (cacao and coffee), vegetable seeds with organic fertilizers and garden tools, swine, drugs and biologics, and the construction of Multi Crop Drying Pavement (MCDP).
Twenty-five (25) individual farmer-beneficiaries in the municipality have organized themselves and became an association. The group is recognized as Tugop Farmers Association (TFA) which was duly registered with the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) on February 11, 2020. The TFA members are eager to start the operation of their MCDP project once the pandemic subsides.
“Our SAAD projects have been smoothly implemented. Right now we are looking forward to expand the projects to benefit more of our farming constituents. Our swine recipients are now due to pledge three piglets to be handed to our next-in-line beneficiaries. This is our strategy to sustain the project.” Ambos shared as her office is heightening its effort to expand the SAAD-funded projects.
“SAAD projects have helped poor farmers like us to be productive and help our families. Our SAAD drying center (MCDP) will be turned over hopefully in June. We will start its operation soon after so that our association can already start earning out of the project.” said Arlyn Ananangkil, the President of TFA.
“Our long term goal is to assist our SAAD farmers to come up with their own product and convert their farms into farm tourism sites. We can provide them training in terms of processing and marketing of the product and link them to other government agencies (for product development).” Ambos vowed.
While calling for the beneficiaries’ unyielding persistence and cooperation, the young and visionary Municipal Agriculturist commits to provide the farmers the needed technical assistance to make them well-adapted to the agricultural livelihood projects of SAAD.
“Along the way, we will encounter tribulation. But this will not stop us from serving our farmers and build them a better community,” Ambos concluded, expressing the LGU’s appreciation of DA’s agricultural assistance to the town. ###
Writer: Azbie Talib, SAAD RPMSO 10, Information Officer