Director-General  QU Dongyu
A statement by FAO Director-General QU Dongyu

High-Level Event on the Humanitarian Situation in Afghanistan

Statement of Dr QU Dongyu, FAO Director-General

13 September 2021

As prepared


Dear Secretary-General and Colleagues,

1. Thank you for your timely coordination and leadership.

2. Afghanistan has been in the midst of a deepening humanitarian crisis for months.

3. A crisis that threatens to spiral out of control without immediate and scaled-up and speeded-up action.

4. On behalf of FAO, I would like to call your attention to a less visible side of the crisis taking place right now in rural communities,

5. That are home to the vast majority of the Afghan population: 7 out of 10 Afghans live in remote and rural areas.

6. Severe drought, the economic effects of COVID-19, displacement, food insecurity and a fast-evolving cash crisis are all pushing rural households to collapse.

7. One out of three people are experiencing high acute food insecurity.

8. The unfolding situation is causing significant new disruptions in terms of availability of cash, credit, labor, markets and agri-food inputs– threatening Afghanistan’s critical winter wheat season which is about to begin.

9. For Afghans, over 80% of staple food comes from wheat (Nang).

10. The window of opportunity to assist Afghan farmers before winter is very narrow.

11. It is critical that support be scaled-up and speeded-up immediately!

12. Without urgent and rapid assistance, farmers will miss this crucial planting season which is just starting.

13. We should not forget livestock owners and herders,

14. A high percentage of which are also facing a critical time, according to FAO assessments, and need urgent assistance in advance of the winter.

15. It takes between 3 and 5 years for farmers and herders to recover from the impact of a drought.

16. We need to keep farmers in their fields and livestock owners with their herds to prevent a deeper crisis with increased humanitarian needs in the future.

17. The collapse of the agri-food system will lead to enormous increases in hunger and malnutrition.

18. Early humanitarian spending now will reduce rising needs later once the crisis has worsened.

19. For instance, less than 150 US Dollars are needed for a winter wheat seed package with fertilizer which can produce enough food to cover a family’s wheat and flour needs for one year.


20. FAO remains on the ground in Afghanistan,

21. and continues to deliver in rural areas,

22. But more resources are required!

23. Despite the critical situation, we have been able to assist more than 200 000 people with essential livelihoods in August alone.

24. Since the beginning of the year, we have reached more than 1.9 million people.

25. Under the Flash Appeal, FAO urgently requires 36 million US Dollars to support an additional 3.5 million people over the next four months. 

26. FAO stands with the girls, boys, women and men – and farmers - of Afghanistan.

27. We count on you to stand with us for the vulnerable,

28. To ensure that no one is left behind.

29. Let us be efficient and effective!

30. Thank you