As the President’s alter ego in food production concerns, Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol has started his nationwide campaign in fulfillment of the Chief Executive's marching order to ensure available and affordable food for Filipinos.
In a dialogue with provincial governors and representatives in Eastern Visayas on Wednesday, July 13, 2016, Sec. Piñol announced his plan of action to alleviate poverty in the top ten poorest provinces in the country, three of which belong to the said region.
"The Department of Agriculture’s (DA) approach is not only on food production, but also on poverty alleviation," he said.
“And sadly, the poorest sectors of the Philippine society is in the farming and fisheries sector," he added.
DA’s new policy directions under Piñol’s leadership will not only focus on food production but poverty alleviation as well, following the strategy of Pres. Duterte which targets to establish livelihood programs for the poorest of the poor.
The Department will address these concerns under the Special Area for Agricultural Development (SAAD) program.
SAAD, a comprehensive program focusing on the country's ten priority provinces, will assess the weaknesses of an area and its potentials in food production.
According to Sec. Piñol, a SAAD Project Management Team (PMT) will be organized in coordination with the local government units of the priority provinces.
“It will be composed of technical people both from DA and the province. Together they will identify the problems confronting the area and find solutions to address these,” he explained.
“We will provide livelihood programs, as these are the sure-fire formula to address poverty,” he added.
Sec. Piñol added that three provinces in Samar island will be included in the program.
DA will set up project management offices that will focus on poverty alleviation in the three Samar provinces.
“Projects with a turnaround of six months to one year will be implemented to achieve changes that can immediately be felt by the people,” Sec. Piñol said.
The agri chief added that the government's target for the three provinces is reduction in poverty incidence by at least 25% within the next two years.
“That can only be done if there's palay production, livestock, and tree farming,” he said.
“If we can come up with 1,000 hectares of production area, one hectare per family, that's already 1,000 families out of poverty,” he exclaimed. Products that will be prioritized include rice, corn, and livestock. # Source - (Marlo Asis/DA-AFID)/www.da.gov.ph