CEBU CITY, June 28, 2021 – The Department of Agriculture (DA) – Special Area for Agricultural Development (SAAD) Program in Region 7 targeted to fulfill 90% obligation by the 3rd quarter during its FY 2021 Mid-Year Assessment in Cebu City.
The assessment was spearheaded by SAAD Director Myer G. Mula, who suggested ideas for speedy updates on obligations and procurement. He promised to help the region and will supplement everything he can for the program.
“We have to establish a system (for the procurement) and push (the development of) enterprises that will help our beneficiaries. We can come up with policy and guidelines for community procurement for us to jive on multiplier farms in our associations,” said Director Mula.
SAAD focal person Aurea M. Madrio said it is a big challenge for the region to meet its obligations as it has a Php 70,806,000 budget in 2020 and Php 102,672,000 fund in 2021.
She reported that DA-SAAD Region 7 reached 23% of its annual obligation as of June.
Project Implementation Challenges
The provinces covered by the program – Negros Oriental, Bohol, and Siquijor – are separated by seas.
With the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases’ restrictions and mandatory lockdown due to the increase of COVID-19 cases, regional operations were impeded.
Procurement, deliveries, training and other activities were rescheduled. There was also a fast turnover of trained and experienced SAAD staff.
According to Ms. Madrio, the major challenges that the region is currently facing are concerns regarding procurement of inputs and deliveries. Some problems were low quality seeds from the suppliers, high price increase of agriculture inputs, and hampered procurement activities due to delayed fund transfer.
Director Mula highlighted the importance of following protocols and establishing a system for the procurement process to ease the problem.
Suppliers should do germination tests on seeds before delivery as well as provide expected date of harvest and days of dormancy.
“Every single day counts for our farmers. With the lessons learned last year, apply an appropriate seed system by providing storage for the seeds. We should be careful on the interventions because we cannot take back what has been lost and we cannot allow for more loss to happen,” shared Director Mula.
SAAD Region 7 Updates
The program is continuously conducting a series of ‘Specialized Training of Trainers’, where the trainees are equipped with knowledge on production through lectures and actual field work. Later on, they will be sent to the barangays level to train shortlisted beneficiaries.
DA-SAAD Region 7 has established a strong partnership with the local government units (LGU). With this, the program is receiving support through mobile transportation of inputs to the SAAD communities.
“I hope that the program will not come to an end and will continue to sustain our beneficiaries. It helped thousands of beneficiaries and I hope that this program helps more farmers,” said DA Operations Division Chief Dr. Gerry S. Avila. He also praised the SAAD director and implementers for the success of the program.
“We are looking forward to the extension of the program to help our marginalized farmers realize their dreams,” said Ms. Madrio.
“It is fulfilling to see the smiles on their faces, in their eyes. Nothing is sweeter than seeing our farmers with their bounty harvest. Some of them have produced more than enough for their family’s consumption and earned income which they used for farm expansion, house repair, and additional farm inputs. The stories of the farmers who went beyond mere production show the success of the SAAD Program,” she added. ###
Writers: Jolina Daño, Information Officer- DA-SAAD Region 7
Natalianne Marie O. Delos Reyes, PR and Communications Officer-SAAD NPMO