ATI, FPD Turnover ‘Seeds of HOPE’ for Yolanda Victims

ATI, FPD Turnover ‘Seeds of HOPE’ to Yolanda Victims

DILIMAN, Quezon City – Eight months after Typhoon Yolanda hit the Philippines and caused major damage to the provinces of Samar and Leyte, humanitarian aid to the victims are still abundantly coming in from the different organizations. However, the focus now is giving aid that will have a more sustainable effect that will benefit the victims for a longer period of time.

The Agricultural Training Institute (ATI) together with Foundations for People Development (FPD) initiated a project called “Seeds of HOPE (Harnessing Opportunities for Productivity Enhancement)” that will help farmers in Region 8 jumpstart their farming endeavour after damages caused by Typhoon Yolanda. FPD has developed a special packet of vegetables and fruit seeds for distribution to farmer-families affected by Typhoon Yolanda. Each packet contains at least 8 to 10 types of vegetables enough to start a 500-1000 square meter farm.

“We, at FPD, asked ourselves, what can we do for the victims given our limited resources? In the end we figured out, let’s do something along the line of what we have been doing,” FPD President Dr. Jose Rene Gayo said.

The seeds are open-pollinated varieties which mean that the farmer can make use part of his produce for seed production for the next cropping cycle.

Scholars supported by FPD and ATI were mobilized to pack the seeds for distribution. The ATI, through its network of training centers in the regions affected, will take care of distributing the seeds. The families of members of the 4-H Club will be prioritized since some of them have received training on vegetable production.

During the turnover ceremony ATI Director Asterio Saliot recognized the importance of this project and was “glad that there are private institutions that help Rural-Based Organizations (RBOs) specifically the 4-H Clubs in Region 8.”

“I hope that other RBOs will also benefit from this project,” Saliot added.

The project is also supported by Rustan Coffee Corporation, distributor of Starbucks coffee in the country, which provided for the seeds.

The turn-over ceremony was held last July 7, 2014 at the ATI Central Office.