BICOL, April 12, 2023 – To strengthen its collaborative relationship with program stakeholders, the Department of Agriculture – Special Area for Agricultural Development (DA-SAAD) Program in Bicol, held a series of meetings with the regional and provincial program implementers and local government units (LGUs) representatives, with the aim to communicate the guidelines for the proper execution of SAAD Phase 2 implementation.
Continuing its pursuit for agricultural development, the three-day meeting was spearheaded by Dr. Mary Grace DP. Rodriguez, SAAD Assistant Regional Focal Person and was participated by 72 SAAD implementers from Regional Program Management Support Office (RPMSO), and Provincial Program Management Offices (PPMSOs), as well as the representatives from Provincial and Municipal Agriculturist Offices, and Provincial Governor’s Office and Mayor’s Offices of Catanduanes, Masbate, and Sorsogon for Phase 1.
Marking its success through Phase 1 implementation
To provide transparency and better understanding of the six years of project implementation, the Regional Program Management Support Office (RPMSO) prepared a report, reflecting its services to the target areas and program beneficiaries.
During the discussion, the regional implementers noted that the program aided a total of 537 farmer-associations and 13,546 beneficiaries living in the far-flung areas of its 18 covered municipalities in the provinces of Catanduanes, Masbate and Sorsogon.
Table 1. Areas covered by the SAAD Program in Bicol for Phase 1 (2018-2022)
True to its commitment, the program beneficiaries were provided with a total of 291 livelihood interventions. These livelihood interventions include rice, corn and cassava, livestock and poultry, high-value crops (HVC) and organic agriculture. To capacitate them in managing the livelihood projects, the program later provided 321 specialized training.
According to the regional implementers, the local government played an essential role during implementation where the Municipal Agriculturist Offices (MAOs) contributed significantly to ensure the sustainability of the livelihood interventions through technical assistance and field monitoring.
Dr. Rodriguez expressed her gratitude to the continued support and acceptance of the stakeholders in the SAAD covered municipalities. Banking from Phase 1 experience, the regional implementers aim to maintain and intensify its partnership with the local government units of Catanduanes, Masbate, and Sorsogon for the next phase.
Initial program coordination for next phase implementation
On top of the discussion, Ms. Maribeth Mangalino, SAAD Bicol Report Officer explained the draft guidelines of the program implementation of Phase 2. It was emphasized that area selection must cover the top one-third poorest municipalities based on the 2018 PSA Small Area Estimates and 5th to 6th income class municipalities. Aside from this, the program initiative will prioritize registered organizations.
With this, representatives from the local government gained a better understanding on the purpose of the guidelines and the program direction to highlight the fulfillment of the Program’s four (4) core components, which was discussed by Florentino Ubalde, Jr., SAAD Bicol Technical Working Group (TWG) Officer for Special Concerns.
In response, the representatives of the LGUs pledged their full support to the program and offered their services to assist the farmers association towards sustainability.
SAAD Bicol will cater 20 municipalities in the next phase of implementation, in which 10 municipalities were marked as new to the program. These municipalities are Viga, Baleno, Batuan, Dimasalang, Palanas, San Fernando, Barcelona, Bulusan, Castilla, and Prieto Diaz, respectively.
Table 2. Areas covered by the SAAD Program in Bicol for Phase 2
As of now, SAAD Bicol is conducting its Beneficiary Needs Assessment (BNA) and Values Formation Training for the pre-identified farmers’ associations. ###
Writer: Juan Paulo A. Quizana, DA-SAAD Bicol Information Officer
Source: Maribeth A. Mangalino, DA-SAAD Bicol Report Officer
Photos: DA-SAAD Bicol RPMSO, Jonas Guañizo, DA-SAAD Sorsogon Area Coordinator