FAO Commits to Escort Pasigala Disaster

Stephen Rudgard  Chief Representative Food And Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (UN)

Reporter: Ikhsan Madjido

FOOD And Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (UN) commits to helping victims of the earthquake, tsunami and liquefaction in the Pasigala region of Central Sulawesi Province.

FAO Indonesia Chief Representative, Stephen Rudgard stressed that beyond October 2019, FAO will distribute and oversee agricultural and fisheries assistance to farmers in Pasigala.

"We want to be longer in Central Sulawesi. We would like to give more. We’ve already proposal submitted. But no donor has set yet,” said Stephen Rudgard on the distribution of aid held in Sigi, Tuesday (07/02/2019).

He ensured that recipients of assistance in areas affected by disasters could live back to normal. "It is part of our mandate to restore food production and rebuild the livelihoods of farmers and fishermen in Palu, Sigi and Donggala," he explained.

The value of the assistance provided in the distribution program to the families of farmers and fishermen in the victims of the Pasigala disaster in Sigi Regency reached USD 1 million.

He explained that aid in the agricultural sector was distributed in the form of 430 tons of fertilizer, seven tons more seeds of corn, tomatoes and cayenne pepper and more than 500 thousand meters of plastic mulch given to 8,000 farmers in Pasigala.

While in the maritime and fisheries sector, he continued, this month FAO will provide fishing equipment including nets and cooler boxes to around 3,000 fishing families.

"The FAO program to restore food security in Palu, Sigi and Donggala, which is worth USD 1 million dollars, is part of a program by the UN emergency response fund (CERF) to help the government," he said.

He hopes that the assistance provided can be utilized as well as possible by the beneficiaries so that it will have an impact on the economic recovery of the farmers and fishermen and not be traded.

"The FAO program is designed to restore food production and improve the livelihoods of vulnerable households and communities that depend on the agricultural and marine fisheries sector. Selection of households is resolved through close cooperation with the local government and village government," he said.

Last June, Stephen said, FAO has also distributed cash assistance to around 4000 households in 175 villages in 22 sub-districts of mothers from farm families and fishermen who are pregnant, breastfeeding and who have children under 5 years.

The families of farmers and fishermen who were victims of the disaster were very grateful to receive the assistance provided.

Anita (36), a mother of two sons, wife of a farmer in the village of Kotapulu, Sigi to supplement her daily income selling brownies and jelly. During the earthquake, Anita's newly built house was badly damaged, including the kitchen where she produced delicious dishes she sold. Luckily, she and her family survived.

"The day after the earthquake, the first thing my husband saved from the house debris was a stove and oven, along with other kitchen utensils. He knows that this is important for me, and for our family," she said.

With her husband, she built a temporary house behind the damaged one, including the kitchen. After Anita received cash assistance from FAO, she began her small business again. Se uses a portion of cash to buy nutritious food for his family. The rest she bought cooking ingredients to make brownies and gelatin.

"I use cash assistance to restart my small business. I get around Rp. 30,000 per day. This adds to our family's income, especially to feed children," she said. **

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