The Department of Agriculture (DA), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), and the Government of Japan forge cooperation to restore agri-fishery-based livelihoods and promote climate resiliency among farmers and fisherfolk affected by the onslaught of Super Typhoon Odette (international name: Rai).
Dubbed the second costliest typhoon in the Philippines, the calamity struck the country in December 2021. As of February 21, 2022, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (NDRRMC) reported 10,607,625 affected persons in 11 regions and P51.8 billion worth of damages P17.7 billion of which belong to the agri-fishery sector.
“Back-to-back crises, conflicts, typhoons, flooding, earthquakes make it difficult for many farmers and fishers in the Philippines to rebound as they struggle to replace what was lost or damaged be it seeds and tools, livestock, or fishing gear. Getting vulnerable families back to producing food and earning an income and helping them withstand the next disaster is at the heart of FAO’s work in the Philippines,” FAO Representative in the Philippines Lionel Dabaddie said.
Titled “Project for Restoring Livelihoods and Enhancing Resilience of Farmers and Fisherfolk Affected by Typhoon,” the OSRO/PHI/203/JPN project entails the utilization of the ¥251 million donation from the Government of Japan for 4,000 small-scale coconut farmers, landless coconut farm workers, coconut farmers’ organizations, fishers, and fisherfolk organizations in 12 municipalities.
According to Project Team Leader Gay Therese M. Bucol, the project takes a bottom-up planning approach and is made up of interventions that are unique per province. This guarantees its relevance and responsiveness to the needs of the beneficiaries, as well as its alignment and complementation to the plans, priorities, and ongoing projects of the local government.
The municipalities of Carlos P. Garcia, Mabini, and Ubay in Bohol will receive assorted seeds and fertilizers for vegetable production, island-born Bohol native chicken strain and feeds for poultry and egg production, water pumps as irrigation support, milkfish fingerlings and fish feeds, and drift gill nets.
On the other hand, the Provincial Government of Southern Leyte will implement a “one municipality, one product” scheme among the municipalities of Bontoc, Tomas Oppus, Malitbog, and Limasawa with priority for sweet corn, peanuts, and vegetables. Farmers’ associations will be given vermicomposting facilities and native chicken production support, while individual fishers and fisherfolk’s associations shall receive milkfish and tilapia fingerlings, feeds, and other fishing equipment.
Meanwhile, the municipalities of Surigao City, San Francisco, Gigaquit, Mainit, and Sta. Monica in Surigao del Norte will be encouraged to partake in climate-resilient agriculture practices such as the use of integrated vegetable production technology under protected culture for banana and cassava production. Vermicomposting facilities and poultry and egg production will also be provided to qualified farmers organizations. Fisherfolk in the province shall be entitled to seaweed propagules and other planting materials, tilapia fingerlings and feeds, and other fishing equipment.
To complement the agriculture and fishery inputs that will be distributed through the project, Farmer’s Field Schools, Training of Trainers (TOT) for farmer-leaders and agricultural extension workers, and season-long and short-term trainings on selected and specialized topics will also be conducted at the local level.
“Natural disaster itself is a tragedy, but people have the power to get better. I really hope that this project will contribute to the revitalization of affected farmers and fishermen,” expressed the Embassy of Japan in the Philippines First Secretary and Agriculture Attache Tachikawa Junpei.
Expressing gratitude to its institutional partners, DA Senior Undersecretary Domingo F. Panganiban shared that the partnership with FAO, the Japanese government, and the local municipalities involved in the OSRO/PHI/203/JPN project is necessary to restore agricultural production in vulnerable areas, especially those that were affected by the calamity.
“I assure you the full support and commitment of the Department—from the Regional Field Offices to its attached agencies, namely the Philippine Coconut Authority and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources—to effectively address the needs of the beneficiaries and enhance their resilience to climate change impacts. Let us converge our efforts and resources to continuously support the farmers and fisherfolk and develop their capabilities to be resilient and competitive,” Senior Usec. Panganiban assured. By Krystelle Ymari A. Vergara