ARMM provides food assistance to farmers in drought-stricken communities
Cotabato City (October 29, 2016) – At least 1,340 farmers from Indigenous Peoples’ (IP) communities in South Upi, Maguindanao received food provisions from the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) on Saturday, October 29, as part of the Food-for-Work Program under the Humanitarian Emergency Action Response Team (HEART).
The farmers were severely affected by the drought caused by El Niño early this year and the food-for-work scheme was intended to help them recover from the calamity. The ARMM-HEART registered 1,340 farmer families from eight barangays in South Upi. Each family received monthly provisions of food, which include a sack of rice, cooking oil and dried fish, over the course of three months.
Among the beneficiaries is farmer Jinny Rebito, 40, of Barangay San Jose. He supports a family of four and said that the food-for-work program helped them survive the result of the drought.
“Nagpapasalamat kami sa ARMM dahil walang-wala na talaga kami. Nasira ang pananim namin (We thank the ARMM [government] because we were left with almost nothing. The drought destroyed our crops.),” he said.
Jo Henry, ARMM-HEART designated communications officer, said the farmers were tasked to plant crops, do backyard gardening, and watershed reforestation in exchange for the food provisions.
Henry said the assistance is part of the ARMM government’s response to the adverse effects of natural weather phenomena like El Niño. The drought, she said, destroyed rice and other crops in vast areas of farmlands in mostly IP communities and the farmers needed an immediate source of livelihood to get by.
The distribution of the final rations of the food provisions coincides with the celebration of the National Indigenous Peoples Thanksgiving Day and the first official visit of President Rodrigo Duterte to the seat of the ARMM government in this city. (Bureau of Public Information)