DA to empower ‘poorest’ communities via SAAD

BEGINNING 2019, the Department of Agriculture (DA) will implement the Special Areas for Agricultural Development (SAAD) program in Laua-an and San Remegio in Antique, and Don Salvador Benedicto in Negros Occidental as the pilot areas of the project in Western Visayas.
The provinces of Antique and Negros Occidental are among the 10 provinces included in the program next year along with Kalinga, Mountain Province, Occidental Mindoro, Bohol, Misamis Occidental, Lanao del Norte, Agusan del Sur and Surigao del Sur.

Launched in 2016 as the flagship program of DA, the program identifies 10 priority provinces for each year from 2017 to 2022 that will be given assistance with agri and fisheries livelihood interventions.

SAAD Project Director Bernadette San Juan said that the project aims to help alleviate poverty and achieve food security by means of providing agricultural and other related interventions to the underprivileged farmer and fisherfolk in the country.

“Specifically, the program also seeks to reach poorest areas especially those who have not received any interventions from DA’s regular programs and projects,” San Juan stressed.
Based on the guidelines of the project, priority beneficiaries are those living below the poverty line, those who have experiences and willing to engage in agriculture related activities, and were not listed as beneficiaries in any DA regular programs.

According to Rene Famoso, DA-Regional Operations Chief and SAAD Focal Person, DA has identified the three municipalities with relatively high poverty incidence as the pilot areas. Aside from the three pilot areas, additional municipalities from Antique and Negros Occidental will set off in 2020 as the expansion areas of the project.
Initially, the DA conducted orientation among the pilot municipalities to craft the logical framework and multi-year planning of the project in line with its implementation in 2019.
The DA called out for this workshop along with the component programs representatives to assist the pilot municipalities in formulating their doable and achievable plans and activities based on the need of communities.

San Juan explained that the plans should be anchored in educating the beneficiaries with appropriate knowledge on technology transfer, enterprise development and marketing skills to improve their production and at the same to make sure that there is a reliable market for the commodities they produce.
Apart from drafting the log frame, another important output of this workshop was the budget proposal preparation for the project implementation for FY 2019.
Famoso added that they will fast track the finalization of the proposal for the project which is due for submission to the National Program Management Office on February 22. Famoso also expressed that he is hopeful that the project will have significant impact in the pilot areas.

The workshop participants are composed of representatives from recipient provinces and municipalities, DA component programs, BFAR and PCIC. The workshop was held on February 13-15 at The Mansion, Iloilo City. (Myleen Subang/DA-6 Information)

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