Through the SAAD lens, clearly

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Created on Saturday, 01 June 2019 Published Date

The article’s theme is loosely derived from a passage in the Holy Bible found in 1 Corinthians 13:12, which says:  For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.  According to English Professor Jonathan Lovell at San Jose State University, the phrase in its original context means that we necessarily see everything in this world imperfectly.  It will only be at the end of days, at the second coming of Christ, that we will see the real truth “face to face.”

At SAAD Program, however, plans, strategies, and activities have been purposefully and clearly set in place from the outset.  Program management is conscious that any poverty alleviation campaign must give priority to creating meaningful and sustainable livelihoods in the agricultural sector.  Therefore, aside from providing agricultural inputs, technical assistance, access to farm services, such as agricultural machineries/equipment, and infrastructure development (hogstel), any intervention must be accompanied by capability enhancement activities, coaching, and mentoring to fortify what had been supplied to the farmers in kind.

In the midst of El Nino weather disturbance, the program is ostensibly on the right track in providing farmers/fisherfolk with the means to earn alternative income.  Intensified efforts to assist farmers cope with the dry spell/drought have been anticipated.  Beneficiaries have been encouraged to engage in livestock and poultry production or cultivate hardy crops that can withstand the El Nino phenomenon.  During trainings, they were taught climate change adaptation and mitigation measures to help them become resilient to variabilities in climatic conditions.  

More importantly, these farmers are trained to market their own produce and imbibe the entrepreneurial spirit.  Intrinsic motivations are instilled not to stay as food producers all their lives, but continuously innovate and process their products into value-added marketable commodities, and finally engage in business opportunities to enhance their family income.

A concrete example is Michelle G. Montances, 35, of Brgy. Sabang, Oras, Eastern Samar, who is into her 4th production cycle of swine fattening, as of monitoring period.  Michelle who is a beneficiary of the 2017 Swine Fattening Project started with 3 piglets and 4.5 bags starter feeds.  Since then, she earned PhP28,000.00, PhP23,000.00, and PhP27,000.00 during the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd  cycles, respectively.  She is now the proud owner of a sari–sari store that sells, among others, hog feeds to service other project beneficiaries and hog raisers elsewhere.  Her savings account with ASA Philippines Foundation plus her income from the store would now enable her to purchase a brand-new refrigerator.         

Apparently, SAAD Program is heading at the right direction.  During the recent monitoring rounds, affirmations from farmers themselves attest to positive gains in addressing productivity and poverty in rural areas.  The projects are flourishing.  If there are slight deviations from the norm, adjustments or recalibration are immediately carried out.  

Through these cutting-edge plans, the program sets it sights on achieving its objective of contributing to the reduction in poverty incidence among farmers in Eastern Visayas from 46.7% in 2009 to 22.7% in 2022.  It firmly believes that farmers have the power to shape their own destiny, given the right break and motivation.  (MICHAEL F. DABUET, SAAD Staff, FRANCISCO C. ROSAROSO, Chief, RAFIS)

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