FAO Director-General meets with the Philippines’ Secretary for Agriculture
9 March 2014, Tacloban/Rome- FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva met with the Filipino Secretary of Agriculture Proceso Alcalá during his visit to Tacloban and surrounding areas today, four months after typhoon Haiyan -locally known locally as Yolanda- struck the central Philippines.
“I am here to say that FAO is here to support your work,” Graziano da Silva told the Secretary of Agriculture. “Our work is only beginning. If we keep this pace up we will achieve very good results,” he said.
“On the way in from the airport I could see that life is slowly returning to normality, but I’m sure in rural areas this is even slower,” the FAO chief reported. “I am very proud of our programme so far and very happy to be in Tacloban today,” he added.
Graziano da Silva interacted with FAO-supported small-scale fishers and farmers and visited their rice fields, accompanied by Alcalá and the Department of Agriculture Undersecretary for Operations, Dante Delima.
Alcalá expressed his appreciation for FAO’s support: “When we go to the fields to carry out assessments, rice farmers tell us that they have already planted with FAO rice seed and fertiliser,” he informed.
“Thanks to FAO, by the end of March farmers will start to harvest and rebuild their families and communities,” Delima added.
To date, with generous support from Belgium, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, FAO has delivered critical rice seed packages to around 44 000 affected farmers in time for the December/January planting season.
More than 1,800 tonnes of certified quality rice seed are being delivered along with fertiliser and farming tools. By March/April 2014 this should yield enough to feed around 800 000 people for a year, worth $84 million in rice.