UN’s FAO gearing up for role in Marawi rehab agriculture UN FAO Marawi rehab

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AGRICULTURE Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol said he briefed senior officials of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) on assistance and rehabilitation efforts for Marawi City and surrounding areas in Lanao del Sur.

Mr. Piñol said that the Department of Agriculture (DA) intends to coordinate its efforts with the FAO, which was represented by senior officials Kundavi Kadiresan and Dominique Burgeon. The rehabilitation program includes the provision of farm inputs and fisheries equipment to affected residents of the province.

“It’s all systems go,” Mr. Piñol said in his Facebook post on Wednesday, following the meeting FAO officials who were previously involved in the rehabilitation and assistance efforts in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda).

Mr. Piñol also said that both Mr. Kadiresan and Mr. Burgeon were familiar with the situation in Mindanao.

“The Master Plan for the Rehabilitation of Marawi City and Lanao del Sur will be finalized when I get back to the Philippines next week,” he said.

“Copies of the Master Plan for Agriculture and Fisheries Rehabilitation will be submitted to President (Rodrigo R.) Duterte to update him on the work of the DA and support organizations in ensuring that the people of Marawi City and Lanao del Sur are able to recover immediately,” he added.

To launch the program, the government will have to identify farmers and fisherfolk and geo-tagg their farms and fishing grounds in Lake Lanao.

“This will be followed by the provision of seed, farm inputs and other support funds for livelihood programs,” he said.

Mr. Piñol, however, failed to provide an estimate for the amount needed to rehabilitate agriculture in Marawi City and the Lanao area.

Separately, Mr. Piñol also said Project BASIL, or Balik Sigla sa Ilog at Lawa, will involve the stocking of Lake Lanao with fingerlings of indigenous fish species.

Under the program, fisherfolk depending on the lake could start harvesting mature fish by November to December this year.

The DA will also provide fiberglass boats to qualified fisherfolk while their spouses will undergo training in processing and packaging to add value to the catch.

Mr. Piñol said he has instructed the DA-Agricultural Credit Policy Council to make the Survive and Recover Loan Program available to affected farmers and fisherfolk, while the Philippine Crop Insurance Program will provide insurance coverage. — Janina C. Lim

A bomb explodes after being dropped on an Islamist militants’ hideout in Marawi, on the southern Philippine island of Mindanao on June 9. — AFP

The handout photo taken and released on June 25 by the Police Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao shows destroyed buildings in downtown Marawi after weeks of fighting between Islamist militants and the Philippine military. — AFP