FAO distributes certified rice seeds, fertilizer, farm implements to Yolanda farmer-victims

web philippines-typhoon-haiyan-6-monthsTHE Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has rekindled the hopes of eight agrarian reform beneficiaries organizations (ARBOs) in Leyte and Samar, the hardest hit by super-typhoon Yolanda in November last year, as it distributed to them 2,486 bags of certified rice seeds and the same number of bags of fertilizer.

FAO monitoring and evaluation officer Fidel Rodriguez added that close to 200 sets of farm implements, each consisting of a shovel, a hoe and a bolo, would also be given to the same ARBOs to enable them to start rehabilitating and clearing their long stalled farms of debris left by the most powerful tropical cyclone, international codename: “Haiyan,” to hit the country.

The super-typhoon barreled through most of the Visayas on November 8, 2013, leaving a trail of devastation in its wake.

Rodriguez said each bag of certified seeds, weighing 40 kilograms, and the fertilizer, 50 kilograms, are meant to enable the typhoon-affected rice farmers to get something to start over with following their nightmarish experience that left them practically nothing.

Rodriguez identified five of the eight ARBOs in Samar as the Caticugan Farmers Association, San Juan Farmers and Fishermen Association, the Pagsulhugon Irrigators Assocation, the Legaspi Farmers and Fisherment Association and the Kauswagan han Canyoyo Cooperative.

The remaining three others in Leyte are the Tulusahay Farmers Multi-Purpose Cooperative, the Saint Benedict Association for Sustainable Farming and the Jaro Agrarian Reform Cooperative.

DAR-Eastern Visayas Regional Director Sheila Enciso said she is grateful to the FAO for coming to the aid of the farmer-beneficiaries, who have long been waiting for these kinds of assistance.

“We are very grateful to be the beneficiaries of these farm inputs and implements. We really need them as we start all over again,” Benderito Dacuno, chairman of the Legaspi Farmers and Fishermen Association, said.

Rodriguez said the governments of Ireland and Belgium donated the 188 sets of farm tools through the United Nations in a show of solidarity with the affected farmers, many of whom could hardly bring back their farms to their productive conditions after all their belongings, including their farm implements, were swept away at the height of the typhoon.

“Every group of five farmers will share one set of tools to help them in tending their respective farms,” Rodriguez said. (Photo courtesy of fao.org and DAR)