New Zealand ambassador gives farm inputs in Maguindanao

By Albashir Saiden, ABS-CBN News Central Mindanao

Posted at Jan 25 2014 01:03 PM | Updated as of Jan 25 2014 09:03 PM

MAMASAPANO, MAGUINDANAO - New Zealand Ambassador to the Philippines Reuben Levermore visited Mamasapano in Maguindanao on Friday to personally distribute farm inputs to residents who were affected by armed conflicts.

Levermore praised Maguindanaons for their strength and courage despite the challenges they have experienced.

"We are an agriculture nation, but farmers in New Zealand don't face the challenges that you have faced such as conflicts, calamities, you have to leave your homes. Today I see many smiling faces, very tough resilient people and I am very impressed," Levermore said.

The program is implemented through the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations with the theme "Restoring Agricultural Livelihoods in Conflict Affected Areas in Maguindanao Province of ARMM."

The project which started July of 2011 is funded by the New Zealand government with a total of 2,762,788 US dollars.

"If there is food going to the mouth, there is peace. Food security is human security. If there is human security, there is a global security," said Rajendra Aryal, country representative of the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization.

On their visit to Maguindanao, farm inputs such as fertilizers, veterinary supplies, garden tools, animals and gill nets were distributed to the farmers.

A total of 21,600 households have benefited from the project since 2011.

The project is being implemented in partnership with the ARMM government and the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries.