The Special Areas for Agricultural Development (SAAD) Program of the Department of Agriculture, without a doubt, is more than just a promise. The Department of Agriculture Regional Field Office 8 said that just recently, out of the Php150 million committed budget for 2016 for the implementation of the program in the three Samar provinces, a total of Php55 million was initially downloaded to the DA RFO-8. Thus, the DA RFO-8 is intensifying pre-implementation activities for this SAAD program. During the two-day Vetting Workshop, DA RFO-8's ARD for Research and Regulations and SAAD Program Regional Focal Person, Dir. Elvira C. Torres shared that the 1st tranche of the fund is intended for the implementation of interventions under production support; training and extension; agricultural equipment and facilities; and research development. The NEW (Northern, Eastern, Western) Samar provinces, as coined by SAAD Program experts, will initially receive a little over Php 18million each which forms part of the Php50 million allocation per province. With the said fund, the three Samar provinces will procure seeds, urea and complete fertilizers, pump and engine and hand tractors to support the rice and corn industries in the said areas. Training cum technology demonstration will be conducted to enhance farmers' knowledge and skills in farming. Under the High Value Crops Development Program, rainshelters will be established aside from the techno demo. The SAAD Program will also highlight organic farming through the conduct of training on organic vegetable production. Livestock raisers will not be left out in the program because various interventions are also proposed such as training coupled with provision of chicken, goat and hog fattener. Chicken incubators will be delivered and hogstel will be established. The program also eyes the piloting of goatstel for Northern Samar and Eastern Samar and development of native chicken commercial farm in Samar. ARD Torres emphasized that NEW Samar was coined in the hope that the program will spark change in the lives of farmers in the Samar Island. She further commended the key players for their submission of the activity proposal. "After the series of workshops/orientation that we had, this activity will guide the key players on what to do next since there is already an initial fund downloaded," Dir. Torrres said. Meanwhile, in a separate activity, the DA RFO-8 initiated a Psycho-Social Module Crafting spearheaded by Dr. Antonio Tacardon, a consultant from the DA-CO. The activity was geared towards identifying the nature of farmers, socialization structures and their role in the community. It also aimed at changing the mindset of farmers as part and parcel of the social preparation component of the SAAD program. "There is a need to further describe the farmers in the respective areas and identify what kind of interventions may be of help to them. We have to repower, capacitate and enthuse farmers and lend purposive leadership for them," Dr. Tacardon intoned.
Source: Philippine Information Agency