By Jezza A. Nepomoceno
ILOILO – The Italian Agency for Development Cooperation, through ActionAid Philippines and Balay Mindanaw, will give additional support to the continuing effort of empowering poor farmers to attain food and income security.
Italian Ambassador Massimo Roscigno, who is instrumental in securing the aid, will lead the distribution of additional 14 rice threshers and hand tractors to select farmer-beneficiaries in a ceremony to be held at 3:00 PM in Casa Real de Iloilo on May 12.He will be assisted by ActionAid Philippines Country Director Joyce Laker, Balay Mindanaw Foundation Trustee Ariel Hernandez, Governor Arthur Defensor Sr., Provincial Administrator Raul Banias and Provincial Agriculturist Ildefonso Toledo.
The farm machineries are part of Italy’s P25-million post-Yolanda aid to the Philippines which aims to contribute to improving income and food security among marginalized farmers and fisher folk in Iloilo.
It is in addition to 130 hand tractors and 65 rice threshers which they provided last year that helped increased the productivity of 1,765 farmers in Batad, Carles, Estancia, Concepcion and San Dionisio.
Laker explained that prior to the distribution of the equipment, the farmers were organized, mobilized and mentored on how to lead and manage their associations or cooperatives.
Series of training on the maintenance and repair of the equipment, agribusiness, food security, climate change adaptation, disaster risk reduction and women’s rights were then conducted.
From June 27, 2015 until April 26, 2016, the project benefited 1,765 smallholder farmers (950 men and 815 women) from 28 farmers cooperatives. It also reached approximately 12,500 women, men and children indirectly.
According to Laker, the sustainability of the project now lies with the farmer-beneficiaries and the local government units.