Restoring livelihoods of typhoon-hit farmers in the Philippines

06/02/2019 - 

“If we had not received the rice seeds and fertilizer, we would have lost hope. As it stands, we are already deep in debt [from the previous cropping season]. So imagine if we had to borrow again. Some of the earnings [from the next harvest] we will use to pay our debts, some to re-invest in our livelihood, the rest of the proceeds and part of our harvest is to support our family.” Ruben Abella, Chairman of the Burgos Upland Farmers Association

When Typhoon Koppu made landfall in the Philippines in October 2015, it destroyed lives, livelihood and infrastructure in the country’s major rice granary – Central Luzon. The heavy flooding that followed displaced close to one million people and caused damage to agriculture of more than USD 215 million. Less than two months later, Typhoon Melor hit, leaving rice and corn farmers without seeds and in even more dire need of input assistance.

Speed was of the essence to help them re-plant their land before the end of the ongoing cropping cycle, which was fast approaching. Without it, they would miss out on the next harvest and struggle to make ends meet through the coming lean seasons.

In this kind of situation, SFERA is critical to getting funds into the field at the turn of a dime and intervening at a time when livelihoods can still be protected. This, in turn, staves off larger food crises and avoids farmers getting stuck in cycles of dependence. Through SFERA, Belgium contributed funds to provide rapid support to rice farmers so they could resume production before the end of the season that December.


Belgium’s contribution enabled FAO to deliver certified rice seeds, fertilizer and assorted vegetable packets with seeds for ampalaya, bitter gourd, string bean, squash, eggplant, okra and tomato. As a result, some 8 600 households across three provinces in Central Luzon were able to plant more nutritious food, weeks after losing much of their livelihoods during the typhoons – this was much more than the targeted number of households

Resource partner: Belgium

Photo: Philippines - Farmers wrap up planting a rice variety in one of the provinces susceptible to flooding ©FAO/ Veejay Villafranca

Contribution: EUR 370 000 (USD 440 000)