OCCIDENTAL MINDORO, October 17, 2022 – The Department of Agriculture – Special Area for Agricultural Development (DA-SAAD) Program opens access to agricultural livelihood assistance for Romblon and Palawan farmers in Phase 2 implementation starting 2023.
In a consultative meeting held in Magsaysay, Occidental Mindoro on September 20-21, 2022, SAAD national and regional staff with community representatives, Municipal Agriculturists (MA), Agriculture Technicians, and local government staff from Occidental Mindoro, Romblon, and Palawan met to discuss the Program’s strategic plan for the new 11 municipalities that will be covered for the Phase 2 (Table 1).
Table 1. SAAD Phase 2 covered municipalities in MIMAROPA
Above municipalities fall under at least one of the following SAAD Phase 2 selection criteria: (5th and 6th income class municipalities, top third poorest municipalities based Philippine Statistics Authority Poverty Incidence 2018), or municipalities with poverty incidence rates ranging from 26.4%-73.4%. There are about 43 target Farmers’ Associations (FAs) with 1,020 beneficiaries in the 11 municipalities awaiting agricultural livelihood assistance.
Similar to Phase 1, activities for capacity building and are preparatory in nature under the component of social preparation will precede provisions of livelihood interventions to ensure that the assistance addresses the beneficiaries’ needs based on community consultations. This will be paired with specialized training to upskill the farmers and marketing linkages for sustainable livelihood.
One of the possible challenges raised by MA Felipe T. Malacad of San Jose, Romblon, is marketing. As an island municipality, the only means to reach the town is by sea travel, making it difficult to export products to other towns.
In response, Mr. Rustom Gonzaga, Agriculturist II from DA-Agribusiness and Marketing Assistance Service (AMAS) Division MiMaRoPa suggested tapping for partnership with the Kadiwa ni Ani at Kita – a market system that will establish a direct link between farmers and fisherfolk as well as the consuming public where farmers get the best prices for their goods, while providing affordable, safe, and nutritious food to the consumers.
DA-SAAD MiMaRoPa Phase 1 covered Occidental Mindoro as a sole beneficiary from 2019 to 2022. The Program’s first phase was able to assist eight (8) municipalities, namely: Magsaysay, San Jose, Rizal, Calintaan, Sablayan, Sta. Cruz, Abra de Ilog, and Paluan – providing various livelihood interventions such as rice, corn, poultry and livestock, and high-value crop production packages.
As of August 2022, SAAD MiMaRoPa has obligated or earmarked Php 156,700,000.00 (96% of the allocated funds for FY 2019-2021) for social preparation component, production and livelihood interventions, and program management office, Php 97,150,00.00 (61%) of which was disbursed or paid. For FY 2022, Php 40,430,000.00 (67%) of the Php 59,921,000.00 allocated budget was obligated.
As for its physical milestones, SAAD MiMaRoPa has conducted 29 social preparation activities with 956 individual learners and 44 groups with 220 members. Sixty-four (64) series of specialized training were also conducted, upskilling a total of 2,360 farmers in various livelihood fields and organizational management.
In addition, the program was able to initiate 89 livelihood projects in the province such as rice, corn, and high value crops production projects, and livestock raising focused on poultry, and swine production. This benefitted 604 individual beneficiaries, 146 FAs with a total of 4,308 group members from FY 2019-2022.
One of the most notable associations of the program in Phase 1 is the women-led Blessed Corean Swine Raisers Association in Brgy. Balao, Abra de Ilog, Occidental Mindoro, recording a Php 1.7M gross income as of date from swine raising since receiving a swine production project from SAAD in 2019. The project benefited its members especially during the peak of pandemic, providing a reliable source of income through selling piglets, fatteners, and agricultural supplies. ###
For more success stories for SAAD Phase 1, please see https://saad.da.gov.ph/saadventures/saadventures-vol-3-issue-no-8
Writer: Dianne Francis A. Sy-Gorembalem, DA-SAAD MIMAROPA Information Officer