El Niño affected farmers will received cash aid and food from the government, this was the word said by running president Rodrigo Duterte.
There will be no waiting or time wasted in helping the hundreds of thousands of farming families who have virtually nothing to eat because of the 6-month-long drought brought about by El Niño.
Right on Day One of the presidency of Rody Duterte Presidential farming families in drought-affected areas will receive cash and food aid until they have made their first harvest.
“Even if it rains in the drought affected areas tomorrow, it will still take 4 to 5 months before the farmers could recover,” Duterte earlier said during a discussion of the extent of the damage to agriculture because of the climatic phenomenon.
Duterte is expected to make this announcement today at the end of a one-day Food Security Forum attended by farmer leaders from the different parts of the country.
He will also be the guest of honour in the launching of the book “Feeding Millions” written by former North Cotabato Governor Manny Piñol who heads a volunteer Technical Working Group on Agriculture drafting Duterte’s Food Security Agenda.
Duterte is also expected to lay down his Food Security and Agriculture Program, the first Presidential candidate to do so, during the day-long activity at the Royal Mandaya Hotel in downtown Davao City.
Duterte said the devastation caused by the six rainless months which destroyed crops worth billions in vast areas all over the country could be considered a major calamity which has pushed farmers to hunger.
“God willing, starting Day One of my presidency, massive food aid and cash assistance will be given to the farming families who have gone hungry for many months now because of the El Niño,” Duterte said earlier.
In Davao City, the Sangguniang Panglungsod or City Council has approved an allocation of over P300-M as calamity assistance for farmers and fisherfolk in the area whose size is three times bigger than Metro Manila.
The City also extended a P31.5-M calamity assistance for the farmers of North Cotabato three of whom were killed in a bloody rally dispersal on April 1.
The 15,000-bags-of-rice assistance will be released as soon as the guidelines of the Commission on Elections are defined, according to Leo Villarreal, city information officer.
El Niño affected farmers will be the first priority
The TWG on Agriculture recommended that right after the day Duterte is proclaimed as the President-elect, non-government organisations will be engaged to validate the areas and the number of farming families affected by El Niño.
Aside from the cash and food asssistance, farmers will also be provided with seeds and farm inputs, the Duterte Agriculture TWG recommendation said.
The TWG also recommended to Duterte that additional rice and corn procurement funds should be given to the National Food Authority because a bumper harvest is expected following the long drought.
Experiences in the past showed that farmers were exploited by some traders during bumper harvests because of the lack of support funds from the government.
Among the speakers in today’s Food Security Forum are Israel agriculturist Eyal Ben Ari whose Gur Lavi Corporation is involved in the promotion of Green House farming, Coachella Valley, California-based Tilapia fish farmer Rocky French who will talk about the potentials of fish farming in the Philippines, dairy farmer Rene Almeda who will discuss the national dairy program and agriculturist Isaac Bangcaya who will present data on rice and corn farming.
Farming sectors like Rubber, Oil Palm, banana, hog and poultry will also be represented during the forum today which starts at 9 a.m.
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