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Support planned for Albanian families hosting Kosovar refugees

FAO has set up an emergency programme to support poor farming families in the Kukes, Has and Tropoje districts of Albania who are stretching their own resources to the limit housing and feeding Kosovar refugees. The Albanians are using up precious food reserves and spending money needed for next season's agricultural inputs helping the destitute Kosovars.

A refugee camp in the Kukes district

The FAO Emergency Coordination Unit is working closely with the Albanian Ministry of Agriculture to prepare agricultural kits for the host families to help them step up their production of grains, vegetables, fruits and animal products. The kits will be paid for by donor contributions to the programme.

FAO experts in the area of Kukes met local representatives from the Ministry of Agriculture to ask for advice about the contents of the kits. They agreed that the kits should contain 150 kg of wheat seed, in two varieties, both of which are resistant to harsh winter conditions and adapted to high and low altitudes; and 100 kg of DAP fertilizer (diammonium phosphate). If possible, they would also include 100 kg of concentrated livestock feed to increase cattle protein intake and milk production; alfalfa seed, fertilizers and one scythe per family; and planting material - grafted prune trees, apple trees and vine stock.

The kits will be distributed from mid-September onwards, in time for the autumn planting of wheat. The number of families to receive these kits will depend on donor contributions. About 12 000 families in Albania are hosting more than 100 000 Kosovar refugees. On average, an Albanian family supports eight, and in some cases as many as 40 refugees.

4 June 1999

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