Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific

Tsunami: FAO support for poor artisan fishing and farming communities

25 Jan 2005 -- Bangkok­ - Basic equipment, supplies and technical assistance for fishing and crop production will be provided on an urgent basis to thousands of poor families in six provinces in southern Thailand who lost their production assets and means of income as a result of the December 2004 tsunamis, an FAO statement said today.

An FAO emergency project is adding-on to the efforts of the Thai government for a rapid re-establishment of sustainable income generating activities that were destroyed by the tsunamis.

Beneficiaries are the poor artisan fishing and farming communities in the affected regions who lost their production assets and means of income and who are unlikely to meet the immediate livelihood needs of their families without assistance.

The project will make available basic fishery and crop production equipment and inputs to kick start activities in the worst affected areas for thousands of families.

International experts and national consultants are already in the field, drawing up final selection criteria, in close consultation with relevant authorities, in order to ensure that the project interventions are focused on the most vulnerable tsunami-affected households.

“In the aftermath of the tsunamis that struck the provinces of Krabi, Phuket, Phang-Nga, Ranong, Satun and Trang, ten of thousands of survivors need to restart productive activities as soon as possible in order to regain their livelihoods”, said Hiroyuki Konuma, FAO deputy regional representative for Asia and the Pacific, during a project signing ceremony at the Thai ministry of agriculture and cooperatives today.

FAO is stressing the requirements for the rehabilitation of livelihoods and socio-economic activities of both small fishers and coastal agriculture.

It is essential that assistance and production inputs are provided to poor small-scale fishing families who are dependent on a daily catch of fish for consumption and sale, such as the provision of fishing gear, nets and traps. This will be followed by actions to promote sustainable livelihoods of the coastal communities, integrated coastal management, aquaculture, diversification of fishing activities and alternative livelihoods among others.

In the longer term, capital investments are required for the repair or reconstruction of infrastructures and public and private utilities such as ice facilities, fish landing ports, roads and markets for the kick-start of trade in fish products and consequent restoration of the coastal fisheries sector.

In addition, urgent assistance is needed by small-scale farmers in terms of production inputs to re-launch production and the possible diversification of their agricultural activities, FAO said.

Coastal agriculture has been badly affected by water logging or the intrusion of seawater into soils used for crop production such as rice fields, and – even worse – into groundwater. Seawater needs to be drained from agricultural lands and soils tested on their suitability for agriculture and the quality of other agricultural water sources need to be analyzed.

FAO is calling for massive support and further mobilization of resources for short and medium-term rehabilitation.

RAP 05/03

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