The Special Area for Agricultural Development (SAAD) is a locally-funded program of the Department of Agriculture (DA), intended to help alleviate poverty among the marginalized sectors on agriculture and fishery.
Coined after the Visayan word “saad” which means promise, the SAAD Program is a breakthrough of former DA Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol as part of the thrust of President Rodrigo Duterte to increase food production and reduce poverty in the Philippines.
Through the SAAD program, a total of 30 priority provinces with high poverty incidence rate among families have been given assistance in both agriculture and fisheries since year 2017.
In the midst of 2019, Piñol’s former administration was turned over to now DA Secretary William D. Dar.
Secretary Dar brought with him his New Thinking for Agriculture geared towards a food-secure Philippines with prosperous farmers and fisherfolk.
His eight paradigms of “New Thinking” for Agriculture paved the way to continue and strengthen the SAAD Program implementation in his leadership to realize his twin goals of increasing productivity and making farmers and fishers prosperous or his term’s battlecry, “Masaganang Ani at Mataas na Kita”.
The SAAD Program, headed by Director Myer G. Mula, aims to give agricultural interventions on animals, crops, and fisheries (capture fishery and aquaculture) to identified beneficiaries with the help of corresponding offices in the regional and provincial levels.
The SAAD Program is composed of four major components – 1) Program Management, 2) Social Preparation, 3) Production and Livelihood Interventions, and 4) Marketing Assistance and Enterprise Development.
SAAD Program Caraga Region
The province of Surigao del Sur and Agusan del Sur was among the identified provinces with the highest poverty incidence in the country. In 2015, poverty incidence among families were recorded at 32% and 37% respectively, based on the statistical data released by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).
In 2019, the two provinces were included as pilot areas where locally funded project known as Special Areas for Agricultural Development (SAAD) program will be implemented. The program geared towards alleviating the socio-economic status of farmers and fisherfolks living in poverty.
SAAD Program covers nine (9) poorest municipalities in Surigao del Sur namely, Lanuza, Tago, San Miguel, Bayabas, Marihatag, San Agustin, Lianga, Barobo and Lingig. While in Agusan del Sur it covers seven (7) municipalities namely, Loreto, Veruela, Bunawan, Talacogon, La Paz, San Luis and Esperanza.