The headlines are sobering: thousands dead, 18,000 injured, and an estimated $225 million in damages to Philippine agriculture.
Monsanto and Philippine NGO Gawad Kalinga Foundation (GK) have created a partnership agreement to rebuild and repair homes of farming families affected by Typhoon Haiyan in Iloilo.
The typhoon’s aftermath saw more than 5,200 people dead while cities and municipalities in the Visayas lie in ruins. Latest reports indicate that total damage to agriculture is at P10B while damage to corn is at P226M. It will take time for the thousands of affected Filipinos to get back to their feet but the recovery process has already begun.
“We are deeply saddened by the devastation that Filipinos had to endure because of the recent typhoon,” said Monsanto Philippines Country Lead Sandro Rissi. “We want to help address the need of one of the most vulnerable groups affected by the typhoon – the farmers.
“We will be working with GK to help more than 280 farmers, especially corn farmers, by repairing or rebuilding their homes,” Rissi said. “This will not only protect farmers and their families from the elements and get them focused on their livelihood, but more importantly, immediately to bring back dignity into their lives by helping put a good roof above their heads.”
GK’s Executive Director Luis Oquinena said their work is anchored on the strong relationship that they have with their beneficiaries. “We do not just build houses for them. We exert all possible effort to get to know them well so that we are also able to help them with other needs that will significantly improve their lives like a sustainable source of livelihood.”
“Our relationships with partners and stakeholders are based on complete trust and the spirit of caring and sharing,” he said. “We have actually worked with many of our partners for years so that to seal commitments, even a simple handshake will do. We have previously worked with Monsanto and we saw how this partnership has made a difference in the lives of the poorest of the poor in Isabela.”
The Monsanto-GK housing project will be implemented in phases – the repair of damaged houses will start next month while the building of new houses will start in late January.
“Gawad Kalinga has the expertise to build houses for our targeted beneficiaries. They also have strong presence in the Visayas and they know the needs on the ground and of the local stakeholders.” said Rissi. “GK also has an excellent track record on transparency, accountability and doing projects in a culturally-sensitive manner.”
Meantime, Monsanto has been partnering with the Philippines and its corn farmers for more 45 years now through its agriculture products, services and partnerships. Monsanto’s introduction of Bt corn in the Philippines increased corn yield significantly over the last 10 years so that last year, Filipinos began to export corn, the second most important crop in the country.
Monsanto has also announced a multi-stage support program to aid the country and its farmers in the recovery effort.