SAAD Program campaign starts in Northern Samar

TACLOBAN CITY -- Regional Executive Director Wilson A. Cerbito of the Department of Agriculture – Regional Field Office 8 has urged the different stakeholders of its full cooperation and collaboration in order to uplift the poor condition of agriculture sector in the Province of Northern Samar.
Photo: Rowel C. Montes

 “Let us reflect on ourselves why the region has gone to this exacerbated situation,” Director Cerbito said in his message during the Joint Orientation and Technical Briefing on the Special Areas for Agriculture Development (SAAD) and Soil Sampling Testing Fertility Assessment and Crop Suitability, on August 18, 2016, in Catarman Northern Samar.

A Nortehanon himself, Director Cerbito referred to the major factors that caused the deplorable condition of the region’s agriculture sector. He said that looking into the timeline of agriculture’s productivity 50 years back up to the present, the agriculture’s production was in a steady decline.

He further said that the prevalent poverty situation among farmers and fisherfolk, which is considered as the poorest sector in the society, is one of the factors of agriculture’s low productivity. At present, the average income of about P5,000 is below the minimum income that a farmer household must earn to achieve and enjoy food sufficiency.

Director Cerbito said that out of its total population, Northern Samar, has a staggering 61.6 % poverty threshold.

“Considering the division of expenses per household, 70% is devoted to food and only 30% to other expenses such as clothing, education, and the like. We need to solidify our campaign in order to attain food security,” he stated.

On the other hand, the Chief of Planning Investment Program Division (PIPD) of the DA Central Office, Mr. Ulysses Lustria discussed the Program Thrusts and Directions, specifically the Special Areas for Agriculture Development (SAAD) Program. This program aims to alleviate the poverty incidence by 25% after three years in the top 10 poorest provinces in the country, including the three Samar provinces.

The program is anchored on different components which focused on its effective implementation such as the Social Preparation Component that entails the identification of problems confronting the area and its solutions; preparation of the beneficiaries for the organization; business planning; technology; financial management, and marketing. Another is the Food Production and Livelihood Component. Under this are subcomponents namely, Family-based Food Production Program, Family-based Agro-forestry Program, Vegetable Production, Dairy Production, Hogstel Production, and Contract Farming.

“These programs are just options, and since you the LGUs are the ones knowledgeable about the issues and problems in your agriculture areas, the DA is open for recommendations of projects coming from the LGU level,” Mr. Lustria advised.

Director Cerbito then urged everyone to cooperate and double everyone’s efforts towards realizing the goal of the said program.

“As natives of Northern Samar, let us cooperate and give our 100 percent efforts in order to achieve the 25% decrease in poverty incidence, and hopefully lift out of poverty the whole region,” Director Cerbito finally said.

Meanwhile, the joint orientation and technical briefing on SAAD Program is likewise set in the Province of Samar as one of the 10 target provinces, September 1, 2016.

Present in the orientation were DA-RFO 8 Assistant Regional Director Elvira C. Torres; HVCDP Regional Focal Person, Dr. Francisco T. Dayap; PMED Staff, Ms Belen de Pedro; Research Division Chief, Dr. Leonarda Londina; DA-8 Rice Program Report Officer, Mr. Rodel Macapañas; and Operations Division Technical Staff, Mr. Arnel Nombre.  (KEVIN G. BIOL, Administrative Aide IV, FRANCISCO C. ROSAROSO, Chief, RAFIS)

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