Samar farmers appeal for more gov’t assistance

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MANILA, Feb. 25, 2016— Still struggling to recover more than two years after typhoon Yolanda’s devastation, farmers in Western Samar called on the government to help their beleaguered industry.

In a statement, around 800 farmers from the towns of Marabut, Basey and Sta. Rita asked the government to help improve their working conditions and ensure the viability of the local agriculture industry.

The farmers gathered to raise their issues and concerns to local officials and concerned government agencies at the First Farmers’ Summit held in Basey on February 19.

Problems in agriculture such as lack of resources, land tenure, technology, and infrastructure continue to top the list of issues the farmers have long been wanting the government to address.

They also asked for additional capital support, machineries, coconut industry development, organic farming, and health and crop insurance.

During the summit, a commitment signing was held among Western Samar Governor Sharee Ann Tan, Basey Mayor Junji Ponferrada, and representatives from the Department of Agriculture, Department of Trade and Industry, Department of Science and Technology, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, Philippine Coconut Authority, National Irrigation Administration, and the Department of Agrarian Reform.

The International Labour Organization (ILO) said that sustainable livelihoods is key for post-Yolanda recovery and help the typhoon survivors build back better. ‘

The ILO said about 6 million people lost their livelihood when Yolanda ravaged Visayas in November 2013.

After the typhoon, Caritas Philippines and its partner organizations continue to support the Diocesan Social Action Center of Calbayog in creating jobs and trainings to affected communities.

“This intervention empowered them to become micro-entrepreneurs by giving them better livelihood opportunities,” the Caritas said.

Aside from livelihood assistance, the diocese also carried out interventions on shelter, disaster risk reduction, ecosystem, water, sanitation and hygiene to typhoon Yolanda survivors in the province. (Raymond A. Sebastián/CBCPNews)

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