ILOILO CITY, June 2, 2023 – While the Program is executing the budget for the current year (FY 2023), the Regional Program Management Support Office (RPMSO) of the Department of Agriculture – Special Area for Agricultural Development (DA-SAAD) 6 reached out to the local government units (LGUs) and partner agencies to solicit assistance, and initiate meaningful partnership in preparation for the forthcoming FY 2024 implementation through the presentation of livelihood project proposals in each municipality.
The RPMSO 6 led the two-day strategic planning workshop in Iloilo City on May 11-12, along with 20 LGU representatives from nine (9) recipient municipalities in the five (5) provinces of Antique, Aklan, Iloilo, and Negros Occidental, as well as their respective Agricultural Program Coordinating Officers (APCOs).
Their objective was to tailor-fit future projects based on beneficiaries’ dynamics on agricultural production such as their local farming practices, planting season, and commodity specialization, utilizing the results of the recently-conducted Beneficiary Needs Assessment (BNA), and formulate directions appropriate for the next years.
To widen linkages during the program roll-out in the region, the implementers also involved in the activity the various DA Regional Field Office (RFO) 6 divisions such as Planning, Engineering, and Agri-Marketing Assistance. Also involved were representatives from the Provincial Agriculture Offices of Iloilo, Antique, Aklan, and Guimaras.
Mr. Dominador Marquez, Regional Technical Director for Operations and Extension, highlighted in his welcome remarks the importance of inter-agency collaboration and the whole-of-nation approach in project implementation to ensure project sustainability and success. He also encouraged LGU partners to implement livelihood projects guided by the program’s ultimate goal of contributing to poverty reduction among marginalized farmers.
Mr. Andrew Palomar, SAAD Alternate Focal Person, spearheaded the activity and introduced its rationale and objectives. He presented the program’s implementation guidelines which are vital in the process of creating the workshop outputs. Further, Regional Report Officer Mr. Michael Deve Perez led an orientation on the program’s logical framework, selection of target beneficiaries, budget projections, and targets.
The LGU counterparts, assisted by the Regional Technical Staff, crafted program plans aligned to the beneficiary’s needs and formulated directions appropriate for the next implementing years. The conduct of such activity will further harmonize the FY 2024 project proposals with the farmers’ current situation and come up with strategies to counter future risks. This strategy is part of the program’s bottom-up approach involving local leaders to further promote collaboration, foster partnership, and allow them a sense of ownership of the livelihood projects received.
The municipal project proposals underwent critiquing from selected panels to ensure compliance with the set guidelines and physical targets of the program. Following this, agreements and ways forward were collated.
Finally, APCO-Iloilo Gareth Bayate commended all LGU counterparts for their active participation and urged them to consider the quality of the interventions and projects to be provided to the beneficiaries. “My appeal to our partners in the implementation of the SAAD Program is to give our farmers the best services they deserve. I encourage you not to compromise the quality of our projects as long as they are within our budget,” he emphasized.
For this year, SAAD Western Visayas covers nine (9) municipalities in Aklan, Antique, Guimaras, Iloilo, and Negros Occidental. Of the 34 targeted farmers associations (FAs), 13 will be receiving livestock and poultry-related projects, six (6) will be receiving corn-related projects, and 15 will get high-value crops-related projects. Initial deliveries and distribution of farm inputs and implements have started in the covered municipalities this May and will continue in the remaining months.
For sustained livelihood assistance to the identified FAs, SAAD will cover the same municipalities and farmer groups in FY 2024 with provisions for supplemental projects. ###
Writer: Christ John B. Gamarcha and Cedie C. Bataga, DA-SAAD 6 Information Officers