Four principles for disaster resilience in the agriculture sector

By Patricia Bianca S. Taculao

According to the Asian Disaster Reduction Center (ADRC), the Philippines is visited by an average of 20 typhoons every year, five of which are considered to be destructive.

Tamara Palis-Duran, the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) Philippine’s’ assistant representative, encourages local farms to cultivate disaster resilience through some insights she shared during the 2019 Barangay Walang Iwanan Summit early this year.

She said the hazards are there because the country is situated along the “typhoon belt” and the “Pacific Ring of Fire.” Moreover, the Philippine’s physical environment also contributes to the storm surges, landslides, floods, and droughts that country experiences.

“Because of these different disasters, partnered with climate change, there is (a) negative impact in the Philippine’s climate change which can sometimes be severe,” Palis-Duran said.

She said that a possible solution to improve the Philippine’s recovery from any calamity is by both following and promoting the four pillars of disaster resilience developed by FAO.

FAO’s pillars for disaster resilience

Involve. In the first pillar, Palis-Duran said that it is important to involve everyone–from small, local farms to big stakeholders–in efforts to become more resilient against disasters. Even the government should be included in order for the proper organizations to act accordingly.

Educate. The second principle focuses more on informing or warning the farmers about harsh weather conditions beforehand to allow them more time for preparation.

“We [the FAO] have done different programs regarding the dissemination of proper information and warnings here in the country. We’re trying to link the Department of Agriculture with the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration, and also other agencies who can contribute to this second approach,” Palis-Duran said.

Mitigate. The third pillar encourages the mitigation of losses among farms by teaching farmers different procedures on how to prepare for an upcoming calamity. “We do this by introducing modules and helping the farmers apply the techniques on lessening possible liabilities when a storm or earthquake hits,” Palis-Duran said.

This involves keeping livestock safe indoors with enough food and water, and even harvesting any remaining crops before extreme weather conditions can hit.

Recover. Lastly, the fourth pillar tackles how farmers and stakeholders could recover from any damages that they’ve encountered. “Both the farmers and stakeholders, even the government, should prepare for the next season and anticipate any problems before they get worse,” Palis-Duran said.

Sustainable agriculture is key

FAO also promotes sustainable agriculture in order to make the most of on-farm resources while providing produce for society as a whole in the long run.

The FAO is a specialized agency of the United Nations that leads international efforts aimed to defeat hunger. It has over 194 member states and works in over 130 countries worldwide.

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Patricia Bianca S. Taculao
Patricia Taculao, or Patty as she likes to be called, is a content producer for Manila Bulletin Digital Lifestyle. She graduated from University of Santo Tomas with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism. She loves to spend her free time, reading, painting, and watching old movies.

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