La résilience

FAO and Belgium support coconut farmers affected by Super Typhoon Rai to restore their livelihoods


Super Typhoon Rai barreled through the Philippines in December 2021, inflicting significant damage to 11 out of 15 regions in the country and severely affecting about 918 877 families. Rai was the fifteenth typhoon – and the strongest – to hit the country in 2021. The typhoon wiped out 273 062 tonnes of agricultural production valued at about USD 266 million (PHP 13.3 billion), with 462 766 ha of agricultural land badly affected. 

The typhoon wrought havoc on the country while it was reeling from the economic backlash of the COVID-19 pandemic. It compounded the challenges encountered by smallholder coconut farmers in the affected regions, pushing them further into poverty and food insecurity. Vulnerable smallholder farmers and their families faced further risks related to lost income due to disruption in their agricultural activities, reducing access to food and other basic goods and services.

The Government of Belgium, through SFERA, contributed USD 500 000 to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) to support typhoon-affected farmers to help them get back on their feet. The funding is supporting the FAO project entitled, “Emergency assistance in restoring food security and agriculture-based livelihoods in Typhoon Rai affected areas in Region VIII.” The project will complement the efforts of the Government of the Philippines to rehabilitate the coconut sector in Region VIII, which was one of the worst hit. The project aims to support farming household to build resilient livelihoods.

The project will support 1 850 severely affected coconut farmers and their households in Southern Leyte Province, specifically targeting female-headed households. FAO will provide these households with agricultural inputs, including fertilizers, intercrops such as Cardaba banana, assorted vegetable seeds, sweet potato and garden tools. FAO will also build their capacity to engage in alternative income-generating activities, as it will take at least six years for newly planted coconut tree seedlings to mature and become productive. The project will also help targeted farmers establish working relationships with relevant institutions, including the government and private firms, for continued support, ensuring the sustainability of the project’s results. FAO will collaborate with the Department of Agriculture and the Philippine Coconut Authority as well as with the local governments units. The support will allow farming households to meet their immediate needs and restore their livelihoods.