The money will protect the lives and livelihoods of vulnerable rural communities, and lay the foundation for recovery
01/26/2022 Rome – The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) today welcomed a groundbreaking contribution of $65 million from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to enhance food security and support the livelihoods of the most vulnerable rural communities in Afghanistan.
ADB’s support is a significant contribution to FAO’s Crisis Response Program for 2022 – and beyond – to increase local food production, protect livestock, increase rural incomes, improve food security for poor and vulnerable people across the country, increase women’s resilience and help farming families access markets.
The aim is to achieve this by providing critical agricultural inputs and services, including the distribution of assistance packages for growing wheat and livestock feed, veterinary support and the provision of vegetable and poultry growing packages, as well as small farm equipment and technical training.
The project seeks to reach all of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces, with a particular focus on the major wheat and livestock producing provinces. Interventions will target rural communities with the highest levels of food insecurity, many of which risk the proliferation of negative coping strategies such as the sale of vital productive assets and increased displacement pressures.
“We are grateful to the Asian Development Bank for the generous contribution, which recognizes the urgent need to invest in livelihood assistance in rural Afghanistan, and reflects that investing in agriculture is a key humanitarian response,” said Qu Dongyu, Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. . “Providing food-insecure communities with seeds, fertilizers and other essential agricultural inputs in time for production will help them produce life-saving food and generate income, which is the most impactful way to reverse the acute food insecurity situation in the country.”
Providing timely livelihood support
With the new funding, FAO will provide crop and livestock inputs, including wheat seed and fertilizer, to help 150,000 wheat-producing smallholder families feed themselves, and livestock feed and veterinary support to help 100,000 marginal livestock families. Finally, these interventions will bring nutritional benefits and income to more than 1.5 million severely food insecure Afghans.
Farmers and livestock owners will also be assisted with technical training and veterinary services through private local service providers to ensure that the inputs provided lead to the best possible production and livelihood gains.
In addition, 140,000 poor, food-insecure rural families will have access to high-quality backyard vegetable seeds, poultry and a mix of small farm equipment, enabling them to produce highly nutritious vegetables and poultry, while reducing gaps in the local food supply.
A major hotspot for food insecurity
Afghanistan is quickly becoming one of the world’s largest food security crises. More than half of the population – 22.8 million people – will suffer from acute food insecurity as of March 2022, which means that they face severe challenges in meeting their daily food needs and in maintaining stable household food security and a healthy livelihood. Of this number, 17.8 million people live in rural areas and depend primarily on agriculture for food, income, livelihood and stability. Continuing drought and economic crisis mean that they lack vital inputs such as seeds to secure their basic food needs for the year, animal fodder to sustain livestock and to provide their children with milk on a daily basis.
About the ADB cross-cutting project (FAO, WFP, UNICEF, UNDP)
The contribution is part of the Asian Development Bank’s larger overall project of $405 million involving four United Nations agencies, including the Food and Agriculture Organization, the World Food Programme, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the United Nations Development Programme. The Sustaining Basic Services Delivery project seeks to support the Afghan people by pooling expertise and added value to relevant UN agencies and addressing the shortages in basic services that have been threatening the lives and livelihoods of poor and vulnerable families in Afghanistan. These include the provision of immediate food assistance, health and education services, as well as agricultural livelihood support aimed at stimulating the economy and maintaining local food production.
Irina Utkina News and Media from FAO (Rome) (+39) 06570 52542 firstname.lastname@example.org
FAO News and Media (+39) 06570 53625 FAO-Newsroom@fao.org