Sunday, December 1, 2013

Typhoon-devastated rice farmers need seeds

IRIN: Typhoon Haiyan swept across an area roughly the size of Portugal in the central Philippines that yields two rice harvests a year, in March/April and October/November, and provides upwards of a quarter of the country’s total rice production, a staple part of the Philippine diet.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says 77 percent of farmers have lost their main source of income, while the Department of Agriculture estimates that more than 850,000 people working in the agriculture sector, many of them subsistence rice farmers, have been affected.

Armando Alimangohan, 51, saw his 1.3 hectare paddy field destroyed on 8 November and knows all too well the impact of the typhoon on his livelihood. “We’re completely dependent on farming. We’ve lost everything and now don’t even have seeds to plant,” he said outside his home in Alang-Alang, a largely agricultural community of more than 45,000 residents in the central Philippine province of Leyte.

“The impact was devastating,” Antonio Gerundio, regional executive director for Region VIII, one of three regions impacted by the storm, told IRIN in the badly affected city of Tacloban. The region has six provinces - Leyte, Southern Leyte, Biliran, Northern Samar, Samar and Eastern Samar - where more than 45,000 rice farmers have been affected.

“Many of the farmers have been wiped out. Not only have they lost their homes, they have lost their homes and rice crops, but also their tools and equipment, as well as what rice they might have had in storage from the previous harvest,” Gerundio said....

Rice farmers in Laguna province in  the Philippines in 2009, shot by IRRI Images, Wikimedia Commons via Flickr, under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license

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