Iloilo farmers secure aid from Italy


ILOILO – Though it’s been over a year since Super Typhoon Yolanda wreaked havoc here, the help from Italian government keeps on coming.

Among which is their upcoming assistance to marginalized farmers affected by the monster storm

This developed after Italian Ambassador Massimo Roscigno successfully gained the approval of the request of Governor Arthur Defensor Sr. for assistance.

Dubbed as Iloilo Provincial Livelihood Rehabilitation on Agriculture, the project will benefit hundreds of farmers from typhoon-hit Carles, Estancia, Batad, San Dionisio and Concepcion.

The project aims to alleviate the farmers from poverty by increasing their farm productivity through the provision of on-hand mechanization and post-harvest equipment.

As agreed, the government of Italy will provide €457,000 or equivalent to P22.1-million (Php to Eur 48.49) for the procurement of 130 hand tractors and 55 rice threshers.

According to Provincial Administrator Raul Banias, the project will be implemented by the ActionAid Philippines led by Country Program Manager Joyce Laker.

The mayors of the five municipalities have been informed of the good news and will soon meet with Laker for orientation.

The world’s strongest tropical cyclone paralyzed the agriculture and fishing industries in this part of the Philippines after it destroyed farm lands and fishing boats on November 8, 2013.

In Northern Iloilo alone, reports from the Provincial Agriculture’s Office showed that more than 10,000 marginalized fisher folk in coastal municipalities lost their homes and livelihood.

Eight percent of the livestock, crops and rice farmers in 31 municipalities also suffered from yield loss.

Iloilo was under a state of calamity wherein immediate assistance and massive rehabilitation were badly needed for the people to recover.

Thereafter, the governor launched the Adopt-A-Fisherman Project, a private-public partnership that aimed at reviving the livelihood of affected fishermen.

The province was overwhelmed with donation from local and abroad and as of June 2014, 90% of the fisher folk affected was provided with new motorboats and fishing gears.

Considering the outpour of aid for fishermen, it was realized that some farmers abandoned farming to avail the aid and engaged into fishing.

This happened due to minimal assistance extended to farmers. In response, the Provincial Agriculture Office provided 20,000 rice farmers with seeds, fertilizers and farm tools.

The governor, however, emphasized that the aid was not enough and there was need for on-farm mechanization and post-harvest equipment to ensure the improvement of their production.

Grateful, he added that Italy’s support to farmers would mean a lot them and to the government’s effort to liberate them from the ravages of poverty. (Jezza A. Nepomoceno/Capitol News)

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