The town of Salvador Benedicto was picked by the Department of Agriculture as one of the pilot areas in the Western Visayas, for the implementation of its Special Areas for Agricultural Development, or SAAD, next year.
Other areasidentified are the towns of San Remegio and Lauan in Antique. Negros Occidental was among the 10 provinces listed for the implementation of the program, along with Kalinga, Mountain Province, Occidental Mindoro, Misamis Occidental, Lanao del Norte, Agusan del Sur, and Surigao del Sur, a report from the DA regional field officesaid.
SAAD identified 10 priority provinces from 2017 to 2022 for the flagship program of the DA in providing agricultural and fisheries assistance and other interventions.
SAAD project director Bernadette San Juan said the project seeks to reach the poorest areas, especially those living below the poverty line, and also those who have experience and willing to engage in agriculture-related activities, and were not listed as beneficiaries of any of the DA regular programs.
DA Regional Operations chief Rene Famoso said the department has identified the three poorest municipalities based on their high level of poverty incidence. The town of Villarama will be set up in 2020 as an expansion area of the project in the region, he said.
As part of the preparation for the implementation, the DA has conducted a workshop for the 60 participants of the three LGUs to assist them in formulating doable and achievable plans and activities based on the needs of the communities.
“The plans should be anchored on the education of the beneficiaries in knowledge of technology transfer, enterprise development, and marketing skills to improve their production, and make sure that there is a reliable market for the commodity they produce,” San Juan said.
Meanwhile, Famoso said they will fast-track the finalization of the proposals for the project, for submission to the national directorate on February 22, adding that he is hopeful that the SAAD will eventually create an impact on the lives of the farmers in the identified areas.*
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