cerf saving livelihoods saves lives lileya ketali secures future with new planting
Paulina Prasula

Saving livelihoods saves lives: Lileya Ketali secures future with new planting

Lara Palmisano

Lileya Ketali is 61 years old and lives in Gone Nar, a village in Myanmar’s Northern Rakhine State. Like many other farmers, he relies on subsistence agriculture, with paddy being a main crop during the monsoon season.

Having only four acres of land, he hires casual labour to work on his farmland and covers their cost with harvested paddy. The remaining crop he uses for food consumption and stores for replanting in the following year.

This year the planting season has come with additional challenges. Violence and attacks which began in October 2016 have introduced a new level of instability and suffering. Thousands of people have fled their homes, hundreds of houses and buildings have been burned. Destruction of crops and killing of livestock has caused serious food shortages.

Like many other farmers, Lileya also lacks the much-needed agricultural inputs to plant new seeds. His harvest for the next season is at risk.

cerf saving livelihoods saves lives lileya ketali secures future with new planting
An ethnic Rohingya Muslim man displays grain given by United Nations agencies in Sittway, Myanmar.

Recognizing the dire situation for many farmers, a large portion of CERF’s allocation to Myanmar has enabled the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to distribute agricultural inputs including paddy seeds, compound and urea fertilizers and vegetable kits to more than 10,000 affected people in Maungdaw Township.

“If I wouldn’t receive paddy seeds I would not be able to plant this year as I didn’t have enough seeds. Also, I haven’t previously used compound fertilizer because it is not available on the local market and I do not have money to buy the local fertilizer,” said Lileya Ketali.

This funding was part of an allocation of US$ 4.5 million to provide critical health care, protection and food security to crisis- affected people. The funds have been released from CERF’s rapid response window in late February 2017.

Based on our previous experience we know that this type of intervention is particularly well received by farmers as the distribution of quality seeds allows for swift restoration of food production, while complementary livestock provision enhances farmers access to food and gives them the chance of gaining additional income”, said Andrea Berloffa, FAO Senior Resilience Coordinator in Myanmar. “FAO shares a long history of collaboration with CERF in support of conflict-affected communities in Northern Rakhine,” she adds.