UN extends P20M emergency aid to farmers of Liguasan Marsh

COTABATO CITY (MindaNews / 8 July) – Battered from armed conflict last February to El Nino in March and now bracing for the disasters brought by floods during the wet season, 5,000 farmers in the Liguasan Marsh, mostly from Maguindanao and one town in North Cotabato, will receive livelihood packages.

On Wednesday, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (UNFAO) and ARMM officials officially launched the emergency response program to restore livelihood of conflict-affected communities in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) and Region 12.

“The response is timely and beneficial to the families affected by the series of calamities recently,” said ARMM Executive Secretary Laisa Alamia. She said that with the farmers’ loss in their farmlands, the aid package will help fill the gap.

The aid package amounting to US$ 470,000, or around P20 million, will provide agriculture inputs such as rice seeds, corn seeds, assorted vegetable seeds, fertilizers and hand tools.

“This will replace the productive assets lost or damaged during the crisis,” according to Jose Luis Fernandez, the UNFAO country representative.

The aid covers 15 towns in Maguindanao and the municipality of Pikit in North Cotabato.

ARMM Agriculture and Fisheries Secretary Makmod Mending Jr. said that aside from the emergency response, they are working for long term initiatives for the food security aspects through the Agri-Pinoy program to ensure sustainability as the farmers in the area are prone to disasters, both natural and man-made.