FAO and the International Day of Disabled Persons
Towards greater inclusion in agricultural production
2 December 2005, Rome – “Working towards greater inclusion of people with disabilities in agricultural production can have a positive influence not only on the disabled but also on the people around them,” FAO said today on the eve of the International Day of Disabled Persons (3 December).
“Despite their impairments, the vast majority of disabled people have both the capacity and the motivation to contribute to the well-being of their households and communities,” according to FAO population policy expert Libor Stloukal.
“Countries should capitalize on the full potential of all their human resources in order to increase their competitiveness. People living with disabilities are a human resource, and ensuring their greater participation is part of good development policies,” he also said.
Disabled rural men and women represent a large proportion of the global number of disabled persons, currently estimated at 600 million.
People with disabilities are often marginalized and overlooked in development interventions. “By building their knowledge and skills, enabling them to improve their income, creating employment opportunities, and promoting their participation in rural development and food security strategies, governments and other stakeholders can enhance their livelihoods,” according to Stloukal.
In recent years, FAO has launched several country- and pilot projects targeted at rural people living with disabilities.
In Ethiopia, a training programme aims to support disabled people in small-scale agricultural production, particularly bee and chicken-keeping.
In Bosnia-Herzegovina, an FAO project is helping war-disabled rural people improve their income by setting up a fish hatchery.
In Cambodia, an integrated pest management programme helps farmers with disabilities diversify their livelihoods and develop their enterprise options.
Other FAO projects targeting disabled rural children and adults have been launched in Kenya, Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka and Thailand.
The International Day of Disabled Persons was established by the UN General Assembly in 1992. The theme for this year’s Day is: “Rights of Persons with Disabilities: Action in Development.”
Information Officer, FAO
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