By Shiela Mae H. Toreno

San Remigio, Antique is among the three pilot sites for Special Area for Agricultural Development (SAAD) program in Western Visayas.

Department of Agriculture (DA) 6 OIC-Regional Technical Director for Operations Rene B. Famoso said, “we have identified the poorest of the poor municipalities in the region with the highest number of low-income earners to benefit from the SAAD projects.”

DA’s SAAD Program aims to contribute in the reduction of poverty through increased food production and establishment of community enterprises in the target areas by providing the appropriate technology, financing, marketing, and other support services in order to make the farmers and fisherfolks productive and profitable.

“We want to benefit those farmers who have very limited access to government projects. Based on our record, we have only a few interventions given to farmers of San Remigio,” said Famoso during the launching of SAAD program in the town, July 10.

DA allotted P6.29 million for the enhancement of rice, corn, lowland vegetables, caracow, native chicken and vermicast production; and P242, 000.00 for the organic midland vegetable production of farmers from the barangays of Agricula, Lapak, Lumpatan, Osorio I, Osorio II, and Sinundolan.

Famoso added that in 2020, San Remigio farmers, through the Office of the Municipal Agriculture, may propose for several farm equipment such as hand tractor, power tiller, pump and engine set, corn sheller, and threshers, and livestock animals including goat.

He said that farmers who have no landholdings may be given carabao for their livelihood.

Famoso emphasized that although the inputs to be given are for free, farmer-beneficiaries should practice a roll-over scheme particularly in order for them to sustain their livelihood projects.

On the other hand, DA 6 field operations division chief Dominador Marquez mentioned that poor individuals with agriculture-related experience or willing to engage in farming and those who are not in the master list of DA regular programs are the target SAAD beneficiaries.

“The SAAD projects will just complement the regular programs of DA,” added Marquez who went on explaining that the LGU of San Remigio was tasked to assess the needs of the community and to propose sustainable agricultural projects under SAAD program.

DA will employ a geotagging tool to profile, monitor and ensure proper implementation and sustainability of SAAD projects.

Mayor Mar Mission of San Remigio urged farmers to protect and sustain the livelihood projects of DA.

He also said that he will allocate funds to add more agricultural technicians in San Remigio to assist SAAD beneficiaries, particularly on agricultural production technologies.

Apart from San Remigio, towns of Laua-an, Antique, and Don Salvador Benedicto in Negros Occidental are also included for SAAD implementation in Region 6 starting this year.

In 2020, the DA will expand the SAAD program in Valderrama for the province of Antique.