La résilience

The FAO Component of the Consolidated Appeals 2012: Philippines

The FAO Component of the Consolidated Appeals 2012: Philippines
Dec 2011

Over four decades of conflict, insecurity and recurrent natural disasters continue to prevent people of the southern Philippines island of Mindanao from meeting their basic food needs.

These shocks have left nearly 700 000 people in urgent need of assistance. This extremely vulnerable group includes 160 000 people who have suffered the long-lasting effects of conflict, and over half a million people struggling to recover from severe flooding in June 2011. Many families have been exposed to multiple crises as a large portion of disaster-prone areas of Mindanao are also conflict-affected.

Each year, the Philippines is subject to an average of five destructive typhoons. More than one-third of the population in Mindanao is living below the poverty line, and around 70 percent of IDPs and returnees are food insecure.

Challenges facing food security and livelihoods

Farmers, pastoralists and fishers have suffered the brunt of these crises – their recovery depends on having the productive means to start producing food and income again. Decades of conflict, displacement and recurrent natural disasters have caused continual losses to agriculture-based livelihoods.

IDPs have lost their draught animals, small livestock, farm tools, seeds and fishing gear. In particular, the floods destroyed 32 000 hectares of palay rice and maize in North Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat and Maguindanao, just as farmers were ready to harvest their crops. This has left communities in urgent need of food and livelihood support at least until the next harvest (March 2012).

Displaced populations have been gradually returning to their places of origin, but face significant challenges. Most cannot afford to replace lost livestock, resume fishing, prepare their land or purchase essential agricultural items, such as seeds, tools and fertilizer.

Other factors stunting smallholder agriculture in Mindanao are poor farm management practices resulting in low production and poor quality yields. Farmers also lack adequate farm equipment, post-harvest technologies and irrigation facilities, as well as supportive networks, such as farmers’ organizations and cooperatives. Addressing these needs is central to increasing the food production and self-reliance of Mindanao’s most vulnerable rural families.

FAO response

With donor support, FAO seeks to help 81 000 IDP and returnee farming families in Mindanao to produce their own food, begin rebuilding their lives, and thereby reduce their dependency on external aid. FAO will provide these conflict-affected and disaster-prone communities with quality fishing gear and farming inputs, such as hand tools, rice, maize and assorted vegetable seeds and fertilizer. The programme will establish and strengthen farmers’ and women’s groups, and improve agricultural practices through training in sustainable rice, maize and vegetable production.

Within the framework of the Food Security and Agriculture Cluster, planned activities will enable a holistic, two-pronged approach to food security, integrating food assistance with the agricultural livelihood recovery of the most vulnerable groups of IDPs and returnees. The Cluster will focus on the distinct needs of women through gender-responsive assessments, needs analysis, monitoring and evaluation, and by feeding lessons learned into policy development to better contribute to gender equality.