The locally funded project under the Department of Agriculture (DA) called Special Area for Agricultural Development (SAAD), has identified its 10 new priority provinces in the country for FY 2019.
SAAD is mandated to add 10 additional priority provinces each year. Among the 10 priority provinces identified were the provinces of Kalinga and Mountain Province in the Cordillera. The inclusion of these provinces was through a memorandum signed by SAAD Project Director Bernadette F. San Juan dated November 27, 2017 in support to the DA Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol’s directive.
The program focuses on the most marginalized agricultural and fishery sectors in the country. Specifically, the program aims to complement the DA regular programs in terms of beneficiaries and interventions, to improve food production for household consumption and commercial purpose in areas of operation, and to assist beneficiaries establish communal agri-enterprises.
In its first year of implementation in 2017, Apayao has been included and has benefitted several farmers in increasing their household income. This time, more farmers from the said two new included provinces will also be benefitting from this project in the next three years.
Based on the 2015 Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) data, 30% of poverty incidence among families was recorded in Kalinga while 29.5% was recorded in Mt. Province. The high poverty incidence rate was the basis of the inclusion of the two provinces in the program.
In preparation for the start of the project in the two provinces, the National Program Management Office (NPMO) that provides the overall guidance in the implementation of SAAD under the Office of the Secretary headed by Director San Juan visited the region and took part in the initial planning workshop conducted at the Gestdan Centrum, Baguio City last January 10-12, 2018.
“Mapalad po kayo,” said SAAD Program Director San Juan during the first day of the activity. Three provinces in CAR are part of the 30 priority provinces that will benefit in the program for 2019. She further explained that they are lucky because not all provinces in the country are given opportunities like this.
To ensure the smooth planning and implementation of SAAD in the provinces, the NPMO will be having a consultation with the provinces involving the identified MLGUs and BLGUs this January 2018.
By Leny Mendoza