Resilience
Philippines | Emergency assistance to safeguard food security and livelihoods of vulnerable farmers and fishers in Catanduanes Province affected by Super Typhoon Goni

Philippines | Emergency assistance to safeguard food security and livelihoods of vulnerable farmers and fishers in Catanduanes Province affected by Super Typhoon Goni

03/12/2020

The Philippines is one of the most disaster-prone countries in the world. It is at risk to typhoons as well as other hazards, including earthquakes, drought, flooding, volcanic eruptions and food chain crises. The agriculture sector, which employs about 31 percent of the country’s labour force, is susceptible to disruptions brought on by such hazards. Region V (Bicol Region) is one of the most vulnerable areas of the country because of its geophysical location, and natural hazards, mainly storms, floods, and volcanic eruptions put many households at risk, particularly those who are dependent on agriculture. 

From 31 October to 3 November, Super Typhoon Goni, the strongest and most violent tropical cyclone in 2020, hit Catanduanes and Albay provinces in the Bicol Region shortly after  Typhoon Molave hit the same area. The typhoons brought violent winds and torrential rains, which caused severe flooding, landslides and lahars, and toppled structures.

A report from the Department of Agriculture stated that as of 9 November the area incurred damages and losses amounting to USD 103.3 million, affecting 42 151 farming and fishing households. Moreover, some 126 077 ha of agricultural land was damaged and 194 181 tonnes of agricultural production was lost. High-value crops, abaca, coconut, corn, rice, livestock and poultry as well as fisheries and agricultural facilities were all adversely affected. 

In Catanduanes, abaca and coconut farming are the main sources of livelihoods, followed by fishing and rice and vegetable farming, which were all damaged by the typhoon. Abaca and coconut farmers’ food security, nutrition and livelihoods are threatened because the next harvest for these crops will not be for several years. These farmers may become reliant on relief for an extended period if support is not provided to restore their productive capacity. 

In Catanduanes, the poverty rate is 19.4 percent, and the incidence of malnutrition is relatively high. The average household, a family of five, needs USD 152.5 per month to meet their basic needs.

Through SFERA, the Government of Belgium contributed USD 300 000 to the Food Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) to restore the food security and livelihoods of affected farmers and fishers. With Belgium’s generous and timely support, FAO will provide 1 850 households (9 250 people) with cash-assistance to meet immediate food needs as well as to cover other basic expenses and to start alternative livelihoods. With this assistance farmers can plant vegetables and raise chickens to contribute to their households’ nutritional intake, promote crop diversification, serve as a source of cash, and in some cases, help assert the role of women and children in household’s food security, nutrition and income.

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