COMMUNITIES in geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas (GIDA) in 14 municipalities in Davao Region are set to receive special agriculture and livelihood assistance in the next six years.

Under the Special Area for Agricultural Development (SAAD) program of the regional Department of Agriculture (DA-Davao), beneficiaries will be given the tools and training for corn and layer chicken production and banana and layer chicken production.

Naomi Lamata, agricultural center chief of DA-Davao, said the SAAD program intends to reach those individuals and communities that rarely receive assistance because of their location.

They include Moro and indigenous peoples groups, and surrenderees of former rebel groups that are provided government assistance.

“Mao ni sila ang mga beneficiaries na dili maka-receive sa atong mga regular programs nga naa sa duol so special tungod kay gihatod na gyod sa ilaha ang mga interventions nato (The beneficiaries are those who can’t receive our regular programs because of their isolated locations so we reach out to them and deliver the interventions instead),” Lamata said in an interview on January 7.

Beneficiaries are from the 5th to 6th class municipalities in the region namely San Isidro and Talaingod in Davao del Norte; Kiblawan in Davao del Sur; Jose Abad Santos, Don Marcelino, Malita, and Sarangani in Davao Occidental.

Also included are Caraga, Tarragona, Manay, Baganga, Gov. Generoso, Cateel, and Boston in Davao Oriental.

Lamata said the beneficiaries have their own land to farm and will only be given the necessary tools to cultivate and earn an income from it through the SAAD program of DA-Davao.

"Ang ginahatag sa ilaha, package na (What we provide are packages). Example kung naa seeds, with fertilizers and farm tools na (For example if we give seeds, fertilizers and farm tools are already included). Project lang ihatag nato na ibutang sa ilahang area (We are giving the projects that they can use in their area). Kung preferred nila ang saging, tagaan sila. Kung chicken, tagaan sila (They will be given which project they prefer)," Lamata said.

The financial target for the said program is P32,628,000, which includes allocations for social preparation, food production and livelihood, and program management office.

After the six-year implementation, the farmers are expected to sustain their livelihood and earn a stable income.

Meanwhile, the 2023 implementation is the second phase of the SAAD program while the first phase was completed from 2018 to 2022 in Davao de Oro.

During the first phase, 57 livelihood projects were given to around 11,000 individual farmers and 90 farmer associations from 84 barangays in 11 municipalities of the province.

Lamata said Davao de Oro was chosen for the first phase since the province had high poverty incidence compared to other provinces, specifically 20.8 percent in 2015 and 18.6 percent in 2018. ICM