The Japanese government has approved the funding for the second phase of the Japan Grant Assistance for Underprivileged Farmers to fast-track recovery and rehabilitation initiative in areas affected by Super Typhoon Yolanda.
In a letter to Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala, Japanese Ambassador to the Philippines Toshinao Urabe said P139.97 million has been allocated to finance a joint project with Manila known as the “Agrikultura: Kaagapay ng Bayang Pinoy” Program Phase II.
“The project aims to contribute to the Philippine government’s recovery and rehabilitation efforts being provided to families in the agriculture and fishing communities in Region 8 by providing income-generating opportunities and helping displaced farmers and fishers reestablish their livelihood in relocation areas,” Urabe said.
The National Agricultural and Fishery Council (NAFC), an attached agency of the Department of Agriculture (DA), will lead the project’s implementation that will cover the first five severely damaged municipalities in four badly hit provinces in Region 8—including Leyte, Eastern Samar, Biliran, and Western Samar.
“The project will be implemented for one year targeting around 8,500 farmers and fisher families,” he said.
The project components will also include grant assistance of farming plant materials or fishing boats and paraphernalia worth P15,000 per household with no repayment.
“While there were needs of the affected families were provided, there is a need for continuing help through livelihood opportunities that would provide sustainable means to assist the survivors towards recovery,” Urabe said.
Formerly known as the Ken–nedy Round 2 (2KR), the Japanese grant facility is designed to assist developing countries like the Philippines in achieving food sufficiency through food augmentation plans and program.
The assistance comes in the form of grants-in-aid, which is used to procure farm inputs such as fertilizers, pesticides, farm machinery and other agricultural equipment. The recipient country sells these farm inputs and the peso proceeds are used to finance agricultural projects.
For the past two decades, Manila has availed of the 2KR program under the supervision and administration of NAFC that assists the government in generating resources to support the implementation of policies, programs and projects geared toward the development of the agriculture and fisheries sectors.
Meanwhile, Alcala called for the effective implementation of a rehabilitation scheme in gravely hit areas of Region 8.
Alcala installed Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) Director Asis Perez as team leader of the rehab initiatives and oversee the overall implementation of government-led projects.
“The work plan will give priority and focus on the clearing operations under a Coconut Rehabilitation Plan,” Alcala said.
According to the plan, 390,000 trees will be cleared in 75 days to give way to the planting and intercropping of corn, camote, vegetables and other high value crops including coffee.
“The actual operation is set to clear 3,900 hectares [has]of farmland which will be made available for the planting of various crops and even livestock raising,” he added.