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FAO’s component of the 2014-2016 Strategic Response Plan for the Sahel
2005, 2008, 2010, 2012: Acute food and nutrition crises affect millions of people across the Sahel due to a combination of drought, high grain prices, environmental degradation coupled with chronic poverty and underdevelopment. Partners take all necessary steps to enhance the response to the crisis by scaling up their capacities to immediately assist millions in need.
2013: Food accessibility is still a major concern for millions of households. Indeed food prices remain high on most markets, and rapid population growth coupled with average agricultural production result in a decrease of productivity per capita.
January 2014: An estimated 20.2 million people, or one in seven people in the Sahel, suffer from food insecurity. Among them, more than 2.5 million require urgent lifesaving, food and livelihoods assistance. For the remaining millions living in stressed food security conditions, the risk of falling into crisis and emergency levels in 2014 is significant.
3 february 2014: The “2014-2016 Sahel Strategic Response Plan” is launched in FAO Headquarters premises in Rome. It reflects a new approach to humanitarian response in the Sahel, adapted to the challenge of building the resilience of the most vulnerable population to recurrent crises.
The majority of people rely on agriculture for their food and income. During and after crises, and without adequate means to restore their livelihoods, they are forced to turn to negative coping mechanisms (sale of livestock and agricultural inputs, reducing number and quality of daily meals, accumulating debt, decreasing expenditures for education, health and malnutrition-related care) leaving them even more vulnerable to future shocks thus aggravating food insecurity.
Their livelihoods, including productive capacities and assets like crops reserves, livestock, animal feed, etc. have been further weakened. Most farmers, agropastoralists and herders generally produce just enough to feed their families, so degraded livelihoods can have a disastrous impact on household food security and nutrition.
Challenges facing agriculture and livelihoods
- Possible erratic climatic patterns which may cause loss of crops and livestock hence disrupting livelihoods;
- Population displacements due to possible natural or man-made disasters;
- Desert locust constitutes a perennial threat to crops if not timely controlled;
- Humanitarian access, regularly jeopardized by armed group;
- Timely funding of agriculture and livestock activities;
- Important livelihood needs unaddressed in the past years. In fact while the assistance provided in response to the Sahel crisis has been crucial, millions of households didn’t benefit from adequate support and will require reinforced assistance in 2014.
In line with FAO’s Strategic Objective 5 aiming to “increase the resilience of livelihoods to threats and crises”, and with the three Strategic objectives of the Sahel inter-agency Strategic Response Plan, FAO’s response plan is articulated around:
1. Collection of data on risks and vulnerabilities, analysis and integration of the results in the humanitarian and development programming
- Strengthen needs assessment, monitoring and early warning systems at the local, national and regional levels in a concerted and integrated way
- Knowledge, information management and dissemination of good practices in food security, agricultural risk reduction and strengthening resilience
- Strengthen coordination
2. Support to vulnerable populations to better face shocks by responding to early warning signals, reducing the length of postcrisis recovery and reinforcing national actors capacities
- Protect and strengthen agricultural livelihoods through enhanced access to agricultural inputs for the main season, the off-season and irrigated crops
- Protect and strengthen pastoralist livelihoods through enhanced access to zoo veterinarian inputs
- Improve natural resource management and promotion of smart agriculture techniques to better face climatic shocks
- Strengthen contingency plans and crisis preparedness at the regional, national and local levels
3. Coordination and integration of life saving assistance to people in emergency situation
- Strengthen national and regional institutional capacities for coordination and management of food and agricultural crisis as well as reducing the risks of food and nutrition security
- Provision of timely support to restore the livelihoods of farmers, pastoralists, agro-pastoralists and fishermen after a shock
FAO’s Response Plan in 2014
For 2014, FAO is appealing for a total of USD 115 million, of which USD 74 million are needed before April 2014 to work with its food security and humanitarian partners and support livelihood interventions in the Sahel. The agriculture sector response plan is based on cropping seasons.
Three main campaigns can be defined in the Sahel: the main season (May-October), the off-season and floodplain recession campaign (October-May), and the irrigated agriculture season (January-December). Timely funding is needed ahead of each cropping season. Seasonality also needs to be considered for the funding of livestock activities.
The following calendars illustrate the indicative timeframe for funding and implementation of these activities.