TACLOBAN CITY – The Food Security and Agriculture Cluster (FSAC) reported that 5.6 million people in the Visayas regions affected by supertyphoon Yolanda are in need of life-saving food aid and support to prevent hunger in the future, while waiting for the full recovery of farming and fishing activities. The FSAC disclosed that about 250,000 small coconut farmers should be prioritized in alternative livelihood such as intercropping, crop diversification, and livestock or poultry-raising activities.

“Major gaps in funding for food and agricultural livelihood recovery activities targeting coconut farmers stand in the way of meaningful recovery. Small scale coconut farmers are among the most severely affected are poorest communities in the Philippines and need urgent support,” It said. Also classified in the most vulnerable groups are rice and corn farmers in cultivating in rain-fed and upland areas, where provision of seeds and fertilizers are badly needed. “In terms of food assistance, the emergency relief phase has phased out and operations have transitioned into targeted and conditional assistance to reach the most vulnerable groups,” the report said. Nearly 759,000 people have been targeted for unconditional cash transfer,” the FSAC said. As of end of June, the government and international relief organizations have already reached 3.65 million displaced people through the distribution of immediate food assistance.

The cluster, led by the Department of Social Welfare and Development and World Food Programme, claimed that there had been a positive impact of well-coordinated response. Sufficient household food consumption increased from 68 percent in December to 77 percent in the second quarter of 2014. (SARWELL Q.MENIANO)