Climate change resiliency: helping Agusan del Norte farming communities

Everyday farmers are facing the effects of El Niño or long dry spell. About one-half of the Filipino labour force is engaged in agriculture. Farms are drying up due to climate change which can have a huge impact of incomes of farmers. The International Labour Organization (ILO) highlighted the need for innovative ways to avoid further damage on crops and incomes of farmers.

Press release | 24 February 2010

Butuan City (ILO News) - Everyday farmers are facing the effects of El Niño or long dry spell. About one-half of the Filipino labour force is engaged in agriculture. Farms are drying up due to climate change which can have a huge impact of incomes of farmers. The International Labour Organization (ILO) highlighted the need for innovative ways to avoid further damage on crops and incomes of farmers.

The ILO component of the United Nations Climate Change Adaptation [CCA] Project: Climate Resilient Farming Communities in Agusan del Norte through Innovative Risk Transfer Mechanisms has selected four priority demonstration sites in the province.

Scheduled to sign a Memorandum of Understanding today, 24 February 2010 are municipalities of Jabonga, RTR, Buenavista and Las Nieves with the ILO and its implementing partners – the Department of Labor & Employment (DOLE), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), and the Province of Agusan del Norte. The municipalities are among the areas largely dependent on agriculture but confront the effects of climate change from drying farms to rising floods.

ILO Project Manager Lurraine Baybay-Villacorta said the selection was made by the Project Advisory Committee (PAC) based on results of the baseline study and approved criteria.

“The four LGUs – Jabonga, RTR, Buenavista and Las Nieves, as shown by the baseline study, contribute significantly to the over-all provincial agricultural production. At the same time, they possess unique environmental and locational characteristics including exposure to extreme events, access to pertinent productive and financial resources needed by the farming populations.”

These LGUs were selected on the basis of the following: (1) agricultural production (area; number of households involved; production level); (2) general environmental condition and climatic risk exposure; (3) availability and access to support institutions; (4) availability and access to financing institutions; (5) availability and access to insurance schemes and other risk transfer mechanisms; (6) level of pertinent knowledge and skills for agri-business, environment and resource management, climate/disaster risk reduction; (7) existence of local government, other government and non-government collaborative initiatives; (8) poverty incidence (along with LGU income classification and number of households with income below poverty threshold); and (9) peace and order issues and concerns.

On the same occasion, another MOU will be signed between the ILO and DTI-Caraga to establish cooperation on key project activities particularly related to the design of options for economic diversification and development of the innovative financing schemes including the conduct of the comprehensive value chain analysis and market research.

The “Inception Workshop” for this engagement will also be conducted in the afternoon of the same day involving not only officials from the four LGUs but also from the farmers’ groups, non-government and peoples organizations from these areas.

PM Villacorta explained that with the final selection, the project can now focus its efforts in studying more closely the farming communities and assessing the vulnerabilities and possible impact of climate change in selected areas. From such studies, climate change adaptation options supporting economic diversification as well as innovative financing schemes and an insurance fund can be developed and tested by end of 2010.

It is expected, however that the approaches and schemes to be tested in these areas can be replicated not only in the entire province or region but can be upscale nationwide.

Agusan del Norte is one of the five demonstration sites in the country for the climate change project under the UN Millennium Development Goals Fund supported by the Spanish Government. The demonstration projects are under the so-called Outcome 3 of a bigger project dubbed: Strengthening the Philippines’ Institutional Capacity to Adapt to Climate Change.

As a capacity building project, the ILO and its partners, DOLE, DTI and the Province of Agusan del Norte will endeavour to conduct learning events among LGU officials on Vulnerability and Adaptation Assessments; Farming Value Chains and other capability building activities.

For further information please contact:

Ms Lurraine Baybay Villacorta
ILO Project Manager - Climate Change Adaptation
c/o ILO CCA Project Office 3rd Floor, D&V Plaza Bldg. J.C. Aquino Ave., Butuan City 8600 Philippines
Tel: +63 85 3424378
Email

Ms Minette Rimando
ILO Manila Public Information
Tel: +632 580 9905 / 580 9900
Email