Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol recently handed over to officials of Sarangani province a check for P75 million meant for the Special Area for Agricultural Development Program during the Thanksgiving Day at the upland village of Upo in Maitum town.
Piñol turned over the check to Sarangani Gov. Steve Chiongbian Solon, Vice Gov. Elmer de Peralta, and other provincial officials. The amount is the balance of the P100-million grant of the Department of Agriculture for the project.
The initial P25 million was downloaded last year, enabling Sarangani to pick seven of its poorest barangays identified by the Community-Based Monitoring System and Social Welfare Indicators for funding of 436 hectares of upland rice and 190 hectares of white corn.
Sarangani’s SAAD project, organized by the T’boli indigenous people, was lauded by Piñol as the most successful because of its streamlined and efficient implementation.
As of the end of October, four municipalities have produced 111 metric tons of organic rice, which is expected to increase when the yield from three other towns are accounted for by December.
The agriculture chief said the DA is planning to build a P120-million rice and corn complex in the province to help modernize agriculture in the area and serve as the marketing center for local traders, who will buy agricultural produce from farmers.
Piñol also committed to extend a P30-million livelihood and loan aid to indigenous people farmers, undertake hog farm production, and put up a slaughter house to complement the income of local farmers.
He noted that SAAD opens new opportunities to meet the needs of upland farmers with the goal of food sufficiency and helping them move out of poverty.
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