One year later: How farmers in Lake Sebu used cash grants to sustain livelihood
Farmers in Barangay Tasiman in Lake Sebu, South Cotabato, are hard-pressed to yield a bountiful harvest.
A big chunk of their income often goes to paying for the cash or farm inputs (resources used in farm production, such as seeds and fertilizers) that they borrowed from creditors.
Due to movement restrictions caused by a sporadic clash, it can take months before the farmers can work on their fields again.
“Farmers in Tasiman are either restricted from visiting their farmlands or they are afraid because they are unsure of their safety,” said Michael Cornelia, ICRC economic security field officer in Cotabato.
“This leads to increased vulnerability and economic struggles. Affected families have limited choices. They often borrow money for their daily sustenance and their farm inputs, which are payable upon harvest either with cash or sacks of their harvest.”
In October and November 2020, we distributed PHP 8,000 each (USD 160) for around 1,100 families who were directly or indirectly affected by the armed conflict in Lake Sebu.
The cash grant distribution aimed to support the community's basic needs and livelihood.
Together with the Municipal Agriculture Office of Lake Sebu, we also set up an outdoor market to make it easier for the beneficiaries to buy farming inputs, food, and other basic needs. The project allowed the villagers to save transportation costs and it also supported local businesses.
We visited Barangay Tasiman again last month to see how the farmers used the cash grant they received last year. Here are their stories.