The COVID-19 health crisis and economic shutdown have adversely affected the lives of the sugarcane farmers and their families. A rapid risks and needs assessment survey conducted by SIFI to 25 Agrarian Reform Beneficiary Orgs (ARBOs) have shown that farmers have experienced a loss of alternative income sources needed to buy fertilizer and other farm inputs. All their available funds go to food, medicines and house repairs.
SIFI has responded by assisting ARBOs and sugarcane workers with their basic need to have rice on their tables. Thanks to the timely financial support by Assisi Development Foundation, Inc. headed by its President Benjamin Abadiano, SIFI has embarked on a joint initiative with Assisi to distribute rice to help sugar farmers cope with this pandemic crisis. The goal is to assist 1,400 farmer households in Negros Occidental by allocating 5 kilos per household. The photos below describe where the aid has partially reached in this ongoing project.
Aside from these, SIFI continues to support ARBOs in making their small enterprises profitable and sustainable, providing for small-scale projects such as canal drainages and irrigation, bio-intensive gardening and disseminating COVID-19 information through farm tarpaulins and flyers.