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TRACTORS AND SEEDS FOR TSUNAMI-HIT RICE FARMERS

Medan, Indonesia  
Around 550 hand tractors donated by Belgium will be delivered to farmers affected by the tsunami in Indonesia, FAO said today.

The tractors will be used to help rehabilitate 430 out of 710 hectares of rice paddy, which was damaged by the tsunami.

The 2005 rice and corn crops, which were to be harvested this March, were already planted when the tsunami struck Sumatra. The island is the second in Indonesia in terms of rice production.
Handtractors waiting for delivery
Bags with Riceseeds

In addition to the donation of tractors, the Japanese government has provided more than 175 tons of rice seeds, which are to be distributed among communities hit by the tsunami.

“The sowing season has already begun, so it is important that we distribute the seeds as quickly as possible,” said Christophe Charbon, FAO Deputy Area Coordinator in Banda Aceh.

FAO’s main objective is to ensure that farmers resume agriculture and fishing to generate food and income and thereby reduce their dependency on food aid.
The first 175 paddy tractors donated by the Belgian government have now been assembled at the FAO warehouse in Medan, 562 kilometers south of Banda Aceh and are waiting for the final go ahead in order to be distributed to the affected area.

Rice Thresher
The remaining 370 tractors are currently in the process of being assembled and will then be transported to Banda Aceh and Meluaboh where more than 4,350 farmers are waiting for them.

Each paddy tractor is carefully assembled and tested before being loaded onto 11 trucks for the long 12 hour journey to its final destination.

The warehouse at Medan is also being used to store the rice seeds, which are to be distributed among 311 communities along the east and west coasts of Sumatra. The much-needed seeds are expected to be distributed to the beneficiaries in the next few weeks.

FAO is also awaiting a shipment of 1,305 metric tons of fertilizers – another donation from Japan – to be distributed to beneficiaries alongside the rice seeds and the hand tractors
Meanwhile Jean Gallene, FAO Fisheries Officer is supervising the shipping of fishing gear to north Sumatra, southwest of Aceh, including parts of Nias Island, which was also recently hit by a devastating earthquake, and where the fisheries sector was all but destroyed.

It is estimated that on Nias two thirds of the fishing boats and gear were lost or damaged as a result of the tsunami. FAO is distributing a total of 519 fishing kits, each containing a grill net, a tramel net, a hand line and assorted spares to the fishermen in the region of North Sumatra and Nias.
Inspection of rice seeds


 contact: tsunami@fao.org © FAO, 2005