The Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Mountain Province passed a resolution requesting Agriculture Sec. Emmanuel F. Piñol to include the province as one of the beneficiaries of the Special Areas for Agricultural Development (SAAD). (SAAD) program.
The resolution was submitted to DA Undersecretary for High Value Crops, Evelyn Lavinia during the coffee farmers forum last April 5, in Bontoc.
Mountain Province relies mainly on agriculture for survival and is faced with many challenges such as small farm size, limited arable lands, underutilized farm lands due to water supply constraints, low operational efficiency of existing irrigation systems, lack of rural infrastructure like irrigation, roads, bridges, post-harvest facilities, high cost of farm inputs and agricultural labor, weak linkages between producers and enterprises and the competing use of agricultural lands.
These are some of the reasons why the province ranks 13th among the poorest province in the Philippines and North Luzon based on the Family Income and Expenditure Survey of 2015 by the Philippine Statistics Authority.
Officials of Mountain Province believe that the inclusion in the SAAD will benefit farmers in the province for they will have an alternative livelihood and could increase crop production.
Under the SAAD, the DA has allocated P100 million worth of livelihood programs to help improve the lives of the farmers in the 10 poorest provinces in the country.
In the Cordillera, only Apayao was included in the coverage area.
Laviña assured that the resolution will be passed to the Office of the Secretary for review.