The conflict has taken a heavy toll on rural livelihoods and industries, as well as the food supply and agribusiness value chain on which smallholders depend for their daily subsistence.
While humanitarian relief continues, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, with support from the Government of the Kingdom of Belgium, has been delivering assistance to help returning and displaced farmers to re-establish their livelihoods and food security.
With a USD500 000 (Php25 million) contribution from the Government of the Kingdom of Belgium through the FAO-SFERA (Special Fund for Emergency and Rehabilitation Activities), FAO is distributing rice, corn and vegetable seeds, fertilizer, farming tools and broiler chicken production packages to 4 949 farming families in Marawi, Lanao del Sur and Maguindanao.
Families in evacuation centers and those staying with their relatives and host communities, including agrarian reform beneficiaries, are among those who received essential agricultural inputs to help augment their short-term food and income requirements.
Belgium Ambassador to the Philippines, Michel Goffin, together with FAO Representative in the Philippines, José Luis Fernandez, met with government, non-government organizations and communities in Marawi and Iligan cities during a visit on 19-20 March.
“The Government of Belgium and its people hope that our contribution will help ensure that those affected by the Marawi crisis are able to recover as quickly as possible,” Ambassador Goffin said.
FAO has been closely working with the Task Force Bangon Marawi (TFBM), Department of Agriculture and Fisheries–Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (DAF/ARMM), Department of Agriculture (DA), Mindanao Development Authority (Minda), Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), Provincial Governments of Lanao del Sur and Maguindanao, and the City Government of Marawi in restoring agriculture-based livelihoods in Marawi and surrounding areas.
“We acknowledge that recovery and rehabilitation take some time, but the concerted efforts of government, non-government organizations, and communities are already making positive impacts to the people affected by the crisis. We must continue working together to sustain the gains we have achieved so far,” Mr Fernandez said.
“FAO’s emergency and recovery response to the Marawi crisis focuses on rehabilitating the agriculture and fisheries sector, restoring the food supply chain in affected communities, and helping farmers reclaim their lost livelihoods so that they can begin rebuilding their lives.”
Working closely with various partners and stakeholders, FAO has also mapped out a short- to medium-term strategic response plan to restore the food supply and agribusiness value chain in Marawi and other affected municipalities and enable them to be better linked to regional markets.
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