By Madelaine B. Miraflor
After being cited by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) as one of the successful programs of the Department of Agriculture (DA), Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol now wants to inject more funds into the Special Area for Agricultural Development (SAAD) program, or even double it for the succeeding years.
SAAD is a locally-funded program of the DA that is intended to help alleviate poverty among the marginalized sectors in agriculture and fishery.
Through the SAAD program, a total of 30 provinces will be given assistance in both agriculture and fisheries.
Piñol said that for next year, SAAD will have a budget of P1.72 billion, which is more than twice its current budget of P721 million for this year.
“We will increase the budget for this further as this is a very effective poverty program. Hopefully, we can double the amount by next next year,” Piñol said.
For this year, SAAD targets the 10 poorest provinces of the country where the DA delivers special interventions like livelihood projects which include duck raising, backyard chicken raising, native pig raising, goat raising, food processing, fish drying and packaging.
These provinces are Catanduanes, Sorsogon, Masbate, Siquijor, Southern Leyte, Leyte, Sulu, Bukidnon, Compostela Valley, and Sultan Kudarat.
In 2019, SAAD will focus on Kalinga, Mountain Province, Occidental Mindoro, Negros Occidental, Antique, Bohol, Misamis Occidental, Lanao del Norte, Agusan del Sur, and Surigao del Sur.
The SAAD Program is particularly composed of two major components – the Social Preparation and the Livelihood Interventions. The Social Preparation will encompass the series of training (including needs assessments) in order to ensure readiness and empowerment of the SAAD beneficiaries in accepting and managing the interventions being provided by the program.