Rome, 12 March 2002 - Approximately
30 000 families in rural areas of Northern Afghanistan have
received 1 500 tonnes of wheat seeds and fertilizers for the
spring planting by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization
(FAO), the UN agency said today. FAO estimates that farmers
could finally harvest around 16 000 tonnes of wheat from the
that as a result of the distribution a farmer's family of
six members could be self-sufficient in wheat for about six
months after the harvest", said Anne M. Bauer, FAO
Focal Point for Afghanistan.
were distributed for spring planting to poor farmers, returnees
and internally displaced people in remote areas in Northern
Afghanistan in the provinces of Faryab and Saripul. People there
are suffering from food shortages caused by drought and
The project was carried out in
close collaboration with non-governmental organizations such as
Save the Children (USA), Coordination of Humanitarian Assistance
(Pakistan), and ACTED (France), which will also provide
fertiliser to complement the seed distribution. The United
States funded the seed distribution with around one million
"Some 85 percent of the
Afghan population depend on farming," said Anne M.
Bauer. "Despite rain and snowfall in the beginning of
this year, the production of wheat, the country's stable
food, has been seriously jeopardised by the shortage of
agricultural inputs. FAO's emergency projects will enable
farmers to resume food production this year."
According to FAO, wheat availability
declined from around 144 kg in 1998/99 to 112 kg per person/year
in 2001/2002, while 180 kg per year is the basic requirement for
wheat consumption per person.
currently procuring another 2 800 tonnes of wheat seed and 1 500
tonnes of fertiliser, 26 tonnes of vegetable seed and hand tools
to assist 88 000 more families.
agency has also re-opened its offices in Kabul and
Mazar-I-Sharif. Funding is now being received to re-deploy
international staff also to the FAO offices in Jalalabad,
Khandahar and Herat.
FAO will also
continue and expand its development activities, which have been
going on at varying levels for many years. This includes a seed
multiplication programme, improvement of livestock production,
animal disease prevention, a vaccination campaign and support
for women-headed households with small-scale poultry and dairy
production. Approximately 40 national staff inside Afghanistan
are already involved in these activities.
Since last September FAO has received US$12 million
for its emergency and rehabilitation activities, mainly from the
US, the European Commission (ECHO), Germany, Ireland, the
Netherlands, Norway, Switzerland and the UK. For 2002, FAO is
appealing for US$36 million to meet short- and medium-term