2003, Rome -- The contribution of individuals with
disabilities to agricultural projects can have a significant
impact on food security, says an FAO study released ahead of the
annual observance of the International Day of Disabled Persons.
Proclaimed by the UN General Assembly in
1992, the International Day of Disabled Persons is observed
every year on December 3rd to promote awareness and
understanding of disability issues.
its major objectives is to help implement international norms
and standards for persons with disabilities and to promote their
full participation in social life and development.
Half a billion
Worldwide today, there are more than half a billion
people with disabilities, approximately 80 percent of whom live
in developing countries.
The FAO study,
entitled "Addressing Extension and Training Needs of
Farmers with Physical Disabilities - A case study of the Islamic
Republic of Iran", examines situation of disabled
Iranian farmers and proposes solutions.
findings may be helpful to other member nations in devising
strategies and special programmes. In particular, a
questionnaire used in the Iran study has been included as an
annex for use by individuals who may be conducting similar
studies in other countries.
Kalim Qamar, who worked in the region soon after the Iran-Iraq
War, said he had witnessed the effects of conflict first-hand.
Many war-disabled veterans were returning to their villages and
wished to remain active in the agricultural sector.
According to the FAO expert, "extension
approaches must always be tailored to socio-economic factors,
political situation, population density, farming patterns,
literacy level, gender, age, religion, cultural beliefs and
recent years, we have seen a tremendous increase in incidences
of natural disasters and conflicts. For this reason, our work
with the disabled will increase and we must be prepared to adapt
to these changes," also said Mr. Qamar.
In Sri Lanka, an FAO project will help disabled
farmers to gain the necessary knowledge, skills and experience
to begin and maintain rural-based small enterprises, mainly
horticulture and poultry production.
William Seiders, FAO Agricultural Training and
Extension Officer, is currently working on this project
proposal. By establishing and sustaining meaningful
income-generating activities in agriculture and related areas,
rural disabled persons will enhance the overall well-being of
their families and contribute directly to household food
The Sri Lanka proposal has
learned from the lessons of a successful FAO mushroom
cultivation project for the rural disabled in Thailand.
Like the Thailand project, the Sri Lanka
proposal depends heavily on the support of the families and
communities to individuals with disabilities who will undergo
Media Relations Officer, FAO
(+39) 06 570