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UN warns of food shortages in Philippines

Food agency says lack of aid could force farmers to rely on humanitarian food assistance well into next spring.

Last updated: 27 Nov 2013 14:49
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The Philippines had one of the fastest growing economies in Asia before Typhoon Haiyan struck [AFP]

Filipino farmers face imminent financial hardship in the wake of super Typhoon Haiyan without further aid, the UN has warned.

Dominique Burgeon, who directs emergency food relief for the UN, said that a lack of aid for farmers could force them to rely on humanitarian food assistance well into next spring.

"The urgency of timing can't be overstated," Burgeon said. "It would be a double tragedy."

Looking past the recent tragedy, there is a lot to like about the medium and long-term outlook of the Philippine economy.

Moody's, Analysts

The UN urged international donors to raise an additional $11m to help clean farmland and irrigation channels damaged by the typhoon that devastated the Philippines and left almost 7,000 dead earlier this month.

The call for funds came after a previous request for $20m to help farmers plant, fertilise, irrigate and maintain crops for the 2014 harvest.

Further funding would help provide 1,400 communal irrigation pumps.

The UN Development Programme's cash-for-work scheme has also been implemented to help farmers clear their lands.

The programme pays local communities to remove debris and covers nearly 80km of communal irrigation canals.

Despite the hardship caused to farmers, analysts expect damage caused by Typhoon Haiyan will not derail the country's economy.

"The government has its finances in order and with the economy and tax revenues growing strongly, it can reasonably afford the typhoon's large repair bill," Moody's Analytics said in a research note.

The Philippines was one of the fastest growing economies in Asia this year with an annual rate of 7.6 percent. 

The country is thought to have enough of a financial buffer to cope with the disaster.

"Looking past the recent tragedy, there is a lot to like about the medium and long-term outlook of the Philippine economy. The government is on a steady path of reform and is encouraging investment," Moody's said.

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Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
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