Rome, 27 March - The Finance
Committee of the German Parliament has approved a 7.6 million
Euro aid package in support of agricultural rehabilitation
carried out by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in
Afghanistan. It is the first time for many years that Germany,
in addition to its regular contribution to the FAO budget, has
pledged money in support of FAO development activities, the UN
agency said in a statement issued today.
"The aid package clearly underlines
Germany's intention to support a global coalition against
hunger, as suggested by the German President, Johannes Rau, in
his speech on World Food Day last year. It is also an important
acknowledgement by Germany of FAO's emergency
activities," said FAO Assistant Director-General Henri
Germany will contribute to a
seed distribution project in Northern Afghanistan. Poor families
in remote areas will receive local cereal, legume and vegetable
seeds and fertilisers to resume agricultural production.
Germany will also participate in a seed
multiplication programme. In past years, improved seed varieties
were multiplied by contract farmers and exchanged for food grain
through a food-for-seed programme. Procuring seeds directly from
farmers contributed to local skills as well as increased seed
production and the adoption of new seeds, FAO said.
Past FAO seed multiplication projects successfully
contributed to the reduction in the cultivation of opium poppy
by farmers, FAO said.
About one half of
the irrigated farming area in Afghanistan has gone out of use as
a result of a breakdown of irrigation systems, FAO said.
Substantial assistance is required to start and carry forward
the rehabilitation of the collapsed irrigation infrastructure.
Germany will finance the rehabilitation of community-based
small-scale irrigation facilities. This will include training
for national institutions focusing on water management.
Livestock production is a key activity for
rural communities to generate income, particularly for women.
Germany will contribute to an FAO project on poultry production.
FAO will assist women-headed families to increase backyard
poultry production. FAO will also support the development of
semi-commercial poultry production around urban centres. In
addition, cattle farmers will receive assistance to develop milk
production for sale.
Germany will also
support an assessment mission to Afghanistan by FAO's
Global Information and Early Warning System, as well as the
monitoring of the household food security situation, especially
regarding the nutritional status of vulnerable groups such as
women and children.
Germany is also in
favour of holding an international meeting on food security and
the right to adequate food and an expert consultation on the
international transfers of contaminating agents. For this
purpose, an additional 900,000 Euro have been earmarked.
FAO's support to Afghanistan is
covered by the Early Agricultural Rehabilitation Strategy,
recently presented by FAO to the Government Authority in
Aghanistan. The Strategy outlines a framework for addressing the
key priorities for the agricultural sector in Afghanistan in the
immediate two-three years period. The implementation of the
Strategy will require US$202 million to cover the needs in the
various agricultural sub-sectors, including crop production,
animal health, irrigation and capacity building.
Germany is FAO's third largest contributor and
covers around 10 percent of the agency's regular