New Zealand Embassy Manila, The Philippines

New Zealand helps people affected by conflict restart their livelihoods

New Zealand Ambassador Andrew Matheson and FAO Representative Kazuyuki Tsurumi sign the funding arrangement for the project

Internal conflict in the Philippines starting in 2008 saw more than half a million people displaced from their homes.  As the conflict subsided most went back home home, though not all.  Those who have returned face significant challenges in restarting their farming and fishing livelihoods.  It’s difficult for them to feed their families.

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is helping internally-displaced persons and those who have returned home in Maguindanao to restore their farming activities.  It will provide agricultural packages consisting of rice, corn and vegetable seeds, fertilizers, hand tools, goats, chicken and ducks, and fishing gear to families most in need.  FAO will also provide technical support in sustainable crop cultivation, fisheries and livestock production.

New Zealand is supporting this work.  The New Zealand Government has recently given just over US$1.35 million for this project in Maguindanao.  During the grant signing ceremony this month in Manila, New Zealand Ambassador to the Philippines Andrew Matheson said the funding “is another example of the New Zealand Government’s commitment to responding to the most critical needs of the conflict-affected people, particularly in Maguindanao Province”.  He added that with the restoration of the farming activities, “we hope to make a lasting contribution to food security, nutritional status and income generation of the displaced people”.

FAO Representative in the Philippines Kazuyuki Tsurumi said that “with the funds from the New Zealand Government, we can work for 12 months and help more than 63,000 internally-displaced persons or 10,550 farm households”.

“These activities will reduce their overall dependency on external food aid”, Mr Tsurumi added.

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