Belgium supports FAO in protecting and improving farmers’ livelihoods in earthquake-hit Nepal

Belgium supports FAO in protecting and improving farmers’ livelihoods in earthquake-hit Nepal

28/10/2015

Belgium’s USD 500 000 contribution to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) emergency programme in Nepal is helping the Government to support more than 114 000 earthquake-affected people to restart their agriculture-based livelihoods that were disrupted by the disaster.

Over 80 percent of the families in the affected communities depend on agriculture for their wellbeing, food and income. Farmers and livestock owners living in rural areas were among the hardest hit. In such a fragile mountain agro-ecosystem, the earthquakes destroyed standing crops, livestock, food and seed stocks. Severe damage to agricultural inputs, infrastructure and farmland, as well as the disruption of markets, further exasperated the situation, leaving poor affected families even more vulnerable. 

In its emergency and recovery response, FAO is supporting the Government in protecting and improving the agriculture-based livelihoods of affected families, including many subsistence farmers. The contribution from Belgium has been crucial in supporting families in the most affected districts – Dhading, Dolakha, Gorkha, Nuwakot, Rasuwa and Sindhupalchok – to protect and secure access to nutritious food and generate income, particularly for women given the key role they play in family farming activities.

Through its partners, FAO is distributing vegetable and staple crop seeds, animal feed and grain storage bags to earthquake-affected farmers. Through women’s groups, FAO is also providing plastic tunnels for winter vegetable production to 6 000 families (30 000 people). By restoring small-scale irrigation channels and stabilizing cultivable land and forest slopes at high risk of landslides, FAO is also helping the authorities to prevent further risks, thereby increasing farmers’ resilience to future crises. In addition, farmers will receive technical training to improve their farming practices and maximize the use of the agricultural inputs provided.

Belgium remains the top donor to FAO’s Special Fund for Emergency and Rehabilitation Activities, which enables to rapidly respond to the crisis, financing the immediate purchase of essential agricultural inputs and quickly launching field activities to protect livelihoods in order to safeguard food security and nutrition, and ultimately increase resilience.