Stress call from Filipino farmers
The Belgian Development Cooperation allocated around 400 000 euros to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) aiming to provide emergency assistance to more than 23 250 people in conflict zones in the Mindanao region.
This humanitarian crisis is a result of the conflict that began in May 2017 in the Islamic city of Marawi between the Armed Forces of the Philippines and Maute, a local non-state armed group. The fighting forced at least 360 000 people to leave their homes and flee the city and neighbouring municipalities.
The FAO project, called “Emergency assistance in restoring food security and agricultural production in conflict-affected communities in Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARRM)”, aims to restore lives and livelihoods of the communities affected by this conflict. Many families - most of them farmers - are gradually returning to their homes, but because they could not reap the fruits from their new crops, they are unable to repay their debts contracted to this end. Moreover, these families generally no longer have their livestock, or even their basic agricultural tools.
The Belgian contribution to the FAO project, which works jointly with the Philippine government, aims to get the agricultural sector back on its feet by distributing livelihood kits, agricultural equipment and rice, maize and vegetable seeds.
In total, the rehabilitation of the livelihoods of more than 23 500 people in 18 different municipalities is at stake. The restoration of the food supply chain is supposed to allow people affected by the conflict to get on with rebuilding their lives, to regain some food security, and to be less dependent on humanitarian assistance.