Out of 81 provinces in the country, the province of Compostela Valley has been chosen by the Department of Agriculture (DA) as one of the 30 provinces where the Special Area for Agricultural Development (SAAD) Program will be implemented.

SAAD, a Visayan word which means ‘promise’ is a program of DA that seeks to fulfill President Duterte’s promise of affordable and accessible food for all by training farmers and fishers to manage livelihood projects not just as a source for food but also engage in agri enterprise for better income.

DA-XI Regional SAAD focal person Jovelle Fuertes said, the agency allotted P30.3 million for ComVal for the provision of needed inputs for upland rice, corn, vegetable and livestock production such as seeds, fertilizers and soil ameliorants as well as farm tools, goat and chicken heads. It also includes trainings for the production of those commodities.

“For upland rice production, we are targeting 420 households; for corn production, 550; for vegetable production, 1,500 households; and, for livestock, 3,000 households for native chicken production and 350 households for goat production,” said Fuertes.

SAAD Operations Officer Justin dela Rueda said that this initiative of DA Secretary Emmanuel Piñol started when he was still a governor of North Cotabato where they were able to reduce poverty incidence from 80 to 20 percent, and now he wanted to implement it in a national scale.

In a launching and turnover ceremony held April 5 at the Provincial Capitol in Nabunturan, DA-XI technical director for Operations Marila Corpuz said that proper monitoring and assessment will be conducted to ensure the success of the program.

"It is our hope that you will take care of this assistance and by the end of 2022 which is the target duration of the program, we can see the development among these farmers," Corpuz said.

Meanwhile, the Provincial Government of Comval thru Board Member Macario Humol expressed its full support for the program together with the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and Philippine National Police (PNP).

AFP cited poverty as the main cause of insurgency and they believe that by empowering these farmers from far flung areas, the number of individuals working for the leftists’ cause will be reduced.

Humol said that the program would be a perfect opportunity for them to improve the agriculture sector in the province and to be an agricultural learning site in the near future.

"The power to change our lives is in us. Let us be united and make it last," Humol added.