For Governor Steve Chiongbian Solon, SAAD is “a holistic approach wherein we really picked areas where there are existing upland rice and white corn kung saan doon ibubuhos ang mga interventions.”
“The point is,” the governor said, “we get food and development sa upland areas.”
Most of the infrastructure projects in Sarangani have been devoted to the opening of farm-to-market roads to also spur development in upland areas and complement the limited resources in the lowland. The intention of SAAD, according to Solon, “is to uplift the lives of the poor especially in the upland areas.”
Duhaylungsod said technicians want to catch the onset of planting season this April “so the farmers could have two croppings this year.”
With the P25-million fund that DA downloaded for the first tranche, Sarangani has initially chosen seven of its poorest barangays based on the province’s Community-Based Monitoring System and Social Welfare Indicators. This would cover a total of 436 hectares of upland rice and 190 hectares of white corn.
Sarangani SAAD program coordinator Engr. Agnes Du explained only the first P50 million will be implemented by Sarangani, while the remaining P50 million will be implemented by DA as an expansion program.
The moment LGU Sarangani could liquidate the first tranche, DA would then download the other P25 million wherein, Du said, 12 other barangays have been identified to avail of the program.
SAAD is focusing on 10 priority provinces as part of President Rodrigo Duterte’s thrust to increase food production and alleviate poverty in these poorest provinces in the country where each would benefit from the P100 million worth of livelihood programs.
Other provinces included Eastern Samar, Northern Samar, Apayao, Western Samar, Negros Oriental, Zamboanga del Norte, North Cotabato, Maguindanao and Lanao del Sur.
Du said, aside from lessening poverty incidence, SAAD program would as well address the “food requirement of every Sarangan thru increased production and livelihood assistance.”
According to Duhaylungsod, Sarangani’s rice sufficiency is only at 39.5% but this has been complemented with the surplus production of white corn where its consumption is high among the towns of Malungon, Alabel, Malapatan and Glan. A variety of root crops, he said, has also been a help in supplementing the shortage of rice.
From the total 1,200 hectares of upland rice in Sarangani, SAAD program would cover 831 hectares. Its white corn component would cover a total of 500 hectares.
Aside from the planting materials and farm tools and equipment, the farmers would also be provided with five kilos of rice as the provincial government’s food-for-work counterpart during land preparation.
Governor Solon has enjoined all the component programs under his flagship Sulong Sarangani Program for a holistic approach in the social preparation of the communities and in the provision of supplemental livelihood projects.
The Office of the Provincial Agriculturist will distribute vegetable seeds for backyard gardening and vegetable production to increase their income. While the Office of the Veterinarian, will be distributing goats and ducks to the communities. (Beverly C. Paoyon SARANGANI INFORMATION OFFICE)