Ensuring the next harvest

Ensuring the next harvest

11/12/2007

FAO agricultural fairs help thousands of poor farm families in southern Africa – FAO has distributed over 1 000 tonnes of seeds, as well as fertilizer and tools, to more than 110 000 poor farmers in three southern African countries through a system of mobile trade fairs.

The agricultural inputs distributed in Lesotho, Mozambique and Swaziland total US$ 7 million and are enough to plant an estimated 50 000 hectares of crops.

"This is a significant contribution towards ensuring a successful upcoming harvest for tens of thousands of families," said Anne Bauer, Director of FAO’s Emergency Operations and Rehabilitation Division. "The more we can support quality farm outputs and help diversify crops and strengthen capacities, the fewer people will need food aid and other handouts next season.”

Through a unique voucher system pioneered by the non-governmental organization Catholic Relief Services, farmers attending the fairs receive vouchers with cash values between US$15 and US$75, so that they can choose what to purchase among the seeds, fertilizer, tools and tillage services on offer.

The fairs in Lesotho and Swaziland were funded by the United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), the Humanitarian Aid Department of the European Commission (ECHO), and the Government of Norway. While the fairs in Mozambique received funding from South Africa and Flanders.