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New Zealand Minister announces NZD 2.5 million donation to FAO recovery program in the Philippines
On 16 March, New Zealand Minister of Civil Defence Nikki Kaye and Ambassador Reuben Levermore met rice and coconut farmers in Barangay Gacao, Palo, Leyte, in Region VIII in the Philippines – the region most severely affected by the passage of Typhoon Haiyan on 8 November. The delegation announced that the New Zealand Government will commit NZD 2.5 million to FAO’s work in helping farmers to recover.
In rural areas such as Barangay Gacao, Typhoon Haiyan severely affected the livelihoods of rice and coconut farmers. Thanks to generous contributions from the international community, FAO assisted nearly 44 000 farming families with rice production packages in time for the December/January planting season, securing the first harvest of 2014 (March/April).
Assisting small-scale coconut farmers remains a critical priority. Around 33 million coconut trees were severely damaged in the Eastern Visayas alone and newly planted trees will take six-eight years to become fully productive. FAO is setting up livelihood diversification programmes in consultation with coconut farming communities, focused on maximizing land-use through intercropping and livestock rearing activities.