FAO calls for $24 million to aid Philippine rice farmers, fisherman

By Agri-Pulse staff

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.



ROME, Nov. 12. In the wake of severe damage to the fisheries and agriculture sectors in the Philippines in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations is mobilizing support and calling for $24 million in aid.

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The typhoon hit Nov. 8, just at the beginning of the main rice-planting season, and FAO estimates that over one million farmers have been affected and hundreds of thousands of hectares of rice destroyed.

“The super typhoon Haiyan has left a trail of destruction and thousands of lives have been lost. The devastation caused in the country, including in the agricultural, fisheries and forestry sectors, puts the lives and livelihoods of many more at risk and can have a wider effect on the food supply chain and food security,” said FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva.

“I want to express the solidarity of FAO and myself personally with the people and the Government of the Philippines,”

The worst hit area, Eastern Visayas, serves as the heartland of the agricultural area.

FAO called for $24 million for immediate interventions in fisheries and agriculture as part of the UN-coordinated humanitarian Flash Appeal launched today. The Organization has already mobilized more than $1 million from its own resources.

“Although there is not a clear picture yet of the impact on the agriculture sector, it is evident that the damage is extensive,” said Dominique Burgeon, Director of FAO's Emergency and Rehabilitation Division.

FAO expects to see severe impacts on coconut production in affected areas and there has also been wide-scale destruction to storage facilities and rural infrastructure. Along the coast, the storm surge wiped out many fishing communities, demolishing boats and gear.

As part of FAO's immediate response to the crisis, the Organization has deployed emergency response staff and will use the $1 million already mobilized to cover immediate needs such as seeds and fertilizers.

An initial total of $24 million will be needed for emergency and rehabilitation efforts including rehabilitation of storage and irrigation facilities and support to fishing communities. The Organization will carry out a full assessment of the damage caused to the agriculture and fisheries sectors as soon as the situation on the ground allows.

Some 9.5 million people have been affected by the typhoon, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

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