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The FAO Component of the Consolidated Appeals 2013: Philippines

The FAO Component of the Consolidated Appeals 2013: Philippines

Dec 2012

After more than four decades of armed conflict, the framework of a peace agreement has been reached between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. As the peace process moves forward, nearly one million people of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao remain severely affected by the long-lasting impacts of conflict and natural disasters. They are highly vulnerable as a result of repeated cycles of displacement, chronic poverty, disrupted livelihoods and limited access to basic services. Recovery is continually set back by frequent natural disasters, such as recurring floods, landslides, earthquakes and tsunamis. In fact, the Philippines ranks as the third most disaster-prone country in the world.

Challenges facing food security and livelihoods

Almost 70 percent of IDPs and returnees in Mindanao are food insecure. The two provinces reporting the highest number of food-insecure families are Maguindanao (56 percent) and Lanao del Sur (40 percent), located in northern and central Mindanao. The vast majority are subsistence farmers and fishers who lack the means to resume productive livelihoods and cannot satisfy their minimum food requirements – let alone recover from decades of losses or withstand future shocks.

Displacement from conflict and natural disaster has had serious repercussions on food and livelihood security. In Maguindanao province, for example, nearly 90 percent of IDPs rely on farming, raising livestock and fishing. They have lost most of their productive assets, including their farm machinery, post-harvest storage facilities, animals and fishing gear. Very few IDPs have the skills to engage in alternative livelihoods during displacement. In fact, less than 20 percent of people in the affected areas have alternative sources of income in times of emergency. Also, there is immense strain on the resources of host families that were already living week-to-week to cover their own needs.

For returning IDPs, agriculture-based livelihoods are difficult to re-establish. Fields, farming assets and irrigation systems are often severely damaged or destroyed. As a result, farmers struggle to meet planting season deadlines and face food and income shortfalls when missed. The lead times between sowing and reaping crops are long if family food supplies are limited. Many farmers and fishers are forced to borrow money from relatives or from local traders on unfair terms, which they cannot pay back.

As a result of these challenges, local food production capacity has been drastically reduced.
The consequent lack of availability and high cost of locally produced fresh, nutritious foods adversely affect the health and wellbeing of families. Moreover, families are increasingly separated as male heads of households seek work and children drop out of school in order to earn money. These hardships are immense and widespread, faced by people who are displaced, returning and hosts to unsettled populations.

Women play an important role in ensuring the food and nutrition security of their households. In addition to daily familial obligations, women contribute to food production activities – seed sowing, planting, weeding, harvesting, post-harvest processing and animal raising – and are responsible for procuring and preparing the ingredients for each meal.

Thus, by focusing on women’s specific needs and challenges, food and nutrition security can be maximized at each stage of food production, preparation and consumption.

FAO response

With donor support, FAO seeks to restore the farming and fishing livelihoods of 15 300 IDP households in northern and central Mindanao, helping them to produce their own food and increase their resilience to shocks. By providing quality fishing gear and farming inputs – such as rice, corn and assorted vegetable seeds, fertilizer, rice threshers, tractors and hand tools – FAO will help families produce more food, become more self-reliant and earn much-needed income.

In addition, FAO will provide training to more than 500 formal and informal groups of farmers and fishers. This will increase the knowledge of men and women in organic backyard vegetable production, fish processing and handling, as well as community-based disaster preparedness – most notably to participate in early warning systems. Women will also receive training in farm recordkeeping and the preparation of basic cost and return analysis of their farm enterprises.

Legend: FAO funding requests for Philippines from 2008 to 2013

Within the framework of the Food and Agriculture Cluster, FAO’s planned activities will enable an integrated approach to food security, considering the complementary roles of men and women in various farming and other income-generating activities, as well as community participation. Increasing national and local preparedness and information management during disasters is a key component of this plan. FAO will also continue to strengthen coordination among partners – at cluster, government and community levels – to ensure effective and efficient support reaches affected populations most in need.

Revision of the Philippines 2013 Consolidated Appeal

The devastation brought about by Typhoon Bopha, early December in Mindanao has lead to the revision of the 2013 Philippines Appeal. Within this revision, FAO aims to support an early recovery from the loss of livelihoods caused by the Typhoon. FAO will distribute vegetable seeds, fertilizers, fruit trees, hand tools, chickens, pigs and feed to farmers in southern Mindanao who were hit hard by Typhoon Bopha. This support will enable them to engage in backyard gardening and livestock rearing as they wait to harvest their main coconut-based crops. Farmers will also benefit from technical support, including training and extensions services in sustainable coconut, vegetable and animal production.