FAO and Belgium support vulnerable populations in recovering their agricultural livelihoods to resume food production while strengthening their resilience

FAO and Belgium support vulnerable populations in recovering their agricultural livelihoods to resume food production while strengthening their resilience

31/03/2021

The humanitarian crisis in Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of), characterized by a severe economic contraction and socio-political tensions, has entered its sixth year, resulting in major impacts including limited access to food and essential services. This in turn affects the livelihoods, incomes and purchasing power of the most vulnerable households, especially in rural areas. During the second half of 2020, many Venezuelan migrant returned to their home country due to reduced job opportunities following the necessary measures adopted in neighbouring countries to contain the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

Amid the state of economic emergency in Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of), the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and related containment measures have exacerbated difficulties in agricultural production. The lack of agricultural inputs and fuel shortages have hindered farmers’ production, harvesting and transportation activities, limiting access to food and increasing the levels of food insecurity

Furthermore, the disruption of education activities and of local food supply chains due to COVID-19 has deeply affected the opportunity for vulnerable populations, including schoolchildren, migrants and indigenous peoples and host communities, to access essential meals through national programmes such as the school feeding programme and food community services. 

In response, thanks to the contribution of USD 350 000 from the Government of the Kingdom of Belgium, through Special Fund for Emergency and Rehabilitation Activities, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) launched a project entitled “Emergency agricultural assistance to vulnerable, food-insecure populations, affected by COVID -19 in the border states of Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of) - Mérida, Táchira and Zulia”. The aim is to support the livelihoods recovery, and improve the food security and nutrition of 1 275 vulnerable households (5 100 people), including returnees, indigenous peoples, schoolchildren, female-headed households and elderly people.

Beneficiary households will receive quality seeds and technical assistance to resume food and seed production; support to set up community seed banks; and capacity building in community savings and loan mechanisms to promote income-generating opportunities.