ARMM gives food assistance to Maguindanao IP farmers

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COTABATO CITY: Some 1,340 farmers from Indigenous People (IP) communities in South Upi, Maguindanao received food provisions from the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) recently as part of the Food-for-Work Program under the Humanitarian Emergency Action Response Team (HEART).

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The ARMM-HEART registered 1,340 farmer families from eight barangay (villages) in South Upi.

Each family received food supply consisting of one sack of rice, cooking oil and dried fish that is expected to tide then over for for three months.

The farmers were severely affected by drought caused by the El Niño phenomenon early this year and the food-for-work scheme was intended to help them recover from the calamity.

One of the beneficiaries, farmer Jinny Rebito of Barangay San Jose, supports a family of four and said the food-for-work program helped them survive effects of a drought that destroyed their crops.

Jo Henry, ARMM-HEART designated communications officer, said the farmers were tasked to plant crops, engage in backyard gardening and reforest watershed in exchange for the food provisions.

Henry added that 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.

JULMUNIR I. JANNARAL

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