Germany commits €2.8 million for projects in Afghanistan, Kenya and Tanzania
Funds to promote biodiversity preservation, sustainable agricultural practices
30 January 2007, Rome – The Government of Germany has committed €2.8 million to support food security, sustainable agriculture and natural resource management in Afghanistan, Kenya and Tanzania, under two agreements signed today with FAO.
Afghanistan: preserving biodiversity, improving nutrition
In Afghanistan, a three-year €1.3 million FAO project will help improve household food security and nutrition by promoting the consumption of local food species with high nutritional value and developing income-generating activities based on the commercialization of local natural resources.
Malnutrition and micronutrient deficiencies are major concerns in Afghanistan, where between 45 and 59 percent of children under five suffer from chronic malnutrition. One of the main causes of malnutrition is poor diet diversity, with most Afghan households consuming largely wheat, oil and tea, but little meat, fruit or vegetables.
Under the project, food insecure households will receive nutrition education on the need to diversify their diet and on the value of local species.
“By promoting sustainable resource management and preservation of local biodiversity, the project will contribute to the Government of Afghanistan’s objectives of reducing malnutrition and food insecurity, as well as preserving natural resources,” said Tesfai Tecle, FAO Assistant Director-General for Technical Cooperation.
The project will be implemented through the Ministry of Agriculture, in close collaboration with local communities, academic institutions, relevant government institutions, non-governmental organizations and the private sector.
Conservation agriculture in East Africa
A second German-funded project aims to improve food security in Kenya and Tanzania through the promotion of conservation agriculture, which combines practices such as zero tillage, crop rotation and permanent soil cover, as a sustainable land management tool.
“Agriculture in much of sub-Saharan Africa suffers from decreasing soil productivity, exacerbated by inadequate soil moisture and erratic rainfall,” said Tecle. “Conservation agriculture can help stabilize and, in the long run, improve productivity. Farming without ploughing also uses less human labour and animal power, which can mitigate the labour shortages that affect small-scale farmers in the region due to rural-urban migration and the rapid spread of HIV/AIDS.”
The three-year project will help promote the adoption of conservation agriculture practices by smallholder farmers in the two East African countries through an expanded network of farmer field schools and by increasing the availability of conservation agriculture equipment.
As many of these tools are not readily available in the region, the project will bring in manufacturers and suppliers from Brazil, where wide-scale adoption of conservation agriculture techniques has spurred a vibrant small-scale manufacturing sector for this specialized equipment which has gradually evolved, with increased demand, to include larger commercial manufacturers.
Brazilian producers of conservation agriculture equipment will benefit from access to the East African market, while potential producers in Kenya and Tanzania will receive training in manufacturing and marketing the equipment to bring elements of the Brazilian success story to bear on the East African situation.
The knowledge and information gained from the experiences in Kenya and Tanzania will be disseminated throughout Africa through the project’s regional counterpart, the African Conservation Tillage Network.
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