UN-backed climate fund OKs $39-M project for Filipino farmers

Gaea Katreena Cabico - Philstar.com
UN-backed climate fund OKs $39-M project for Filipino farmers
Farmer Isagani Cajucom looks at his corn crops in Barangay Parista, Lupao, Nueva Ecija in August 2021.
Philstar.com / Gaea Katreena Cabico

MANILA, Philippines — The Green Climate Fund (GCF) has approved a $39.2-million (P2.15 billion) program to help the Philippines shift to a climate-resilient agricultural system and let farmers respond to the impacts of the climate crisis.

The Philippines is one of the countries most at risk from the impacts of climate change such as strong cyclones and droughts, with poor and rural communities bearing the brunt of the disasters.

To boost the resilience of climate-vulnerable rural smallholder farmers, the GCF approved the funding proposal on the project called "Adapting Philippine Agriculture to Climate Change" at its 35th board meeting in South Korea, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) said on Thursday.

The project will be supported by a $26.2-million GCF grant and $12.9 million in co-financing from the Department of Agriculture and state weather bureau Pagasa.

The seven-year initiative will directly benefit 1.25 Filipino farmers in rural areas by raising their awareness of climate risks and risk-reduction measures, building their capacity to develop enterprises and to access finance and related technologies, and adopting climate-resilient agriculture (CRA) practices.

"Through this, we are giving flesh to the President’s pronouncement in his first State of the Nation Address emphasizing that the production of farm inputs or the needs of farmers to increase their productivity should conform to the challenges brought by climate change and global warming," said Senior Undersecretary Domingo Panganiban.

President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. is concurrently agriculture secretary.

At the national level, the project will incorporate CRA into the development agendas of the national government and local government units, and will work with the private sector and financial institutions to develop robust CRA value chains.

FAO also said the initiative is expected to deliver indirect benefits to over five million Filipinos, and pay special attention to indigenous peoples, women and girls.

The project is expected to reduce emissions by some 4.38 metric tons of carbon dioxide-equivalent over a 20-year period as a result of the application of CRA practices and better land use.

The GCF is a fund established within the framework of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change as an operating entity of the Financial Mechanism to assist developing countries in adaptation and mitigation practices to counter climate change.

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