2003, Kabul/Rome -- Around 60 000 Afghan farm families
have received high quality seeds and fertilizers ahead of the
planting season, FAO said today.
distributed 3 000 tonnes of quality wheat seed and 4 500 tonnes
of fertilizer to households across the country in time for the
next planting season.
Over 500 000 people
are expected to benefit from the improved harvests and income
generated by the seeds.
fertilizers were given to vulnerable families returning home to
their land. Thousands were forced to flee their farms and
abandon their land during the country's civil war.
"Since 2002, FAO has carried out
several large-scale distribution programmes in Afghanistan,
reaching some 300 000 poor families, around 2.7 million people,
with quality wheat and vegetable seeds, fertilizers and hand
tools in nearly every province and district of the
country," said Serge Verniau, FAO Representative in
FAO worked with the Ministry
of Agriculture and Animal Husbandry (MAAH) and other partners to
distribute the seeds.
A recent evaluation of
FAO's 2002 wheat seed distribution confirmed that FAO seed
varieties performed better than local and other improved
varieties found in markets.
higher germination rates and higher resistance to cold weather,
frost and snow, as well as to disease and drought.
As a result, FAO seed varieties produced 30 to 50
percent higher yields on average than local and other improved
varieties, contributing to the best ever crop in Afghanistan in
Most of the wheat seed distributed
by FAO is produced by Afghan seed growers supervised by
FAO's national seed multiplication programme.
The wheat seed varieties produced are resistant to
disease and adapted to the country's different ecological
conditions. This enables FAO and other organizations to obtain
quality seed inside the country, reducing risks and costs.
Families who received FAO improved seed
produced enough wheat for their own consumption as well as
having some left over to sell.
War weapons grow vegetables
FAO also distributed vegetable seed kits to
800 000 people early this year.
The kits included imported high-yielding varieties of
seed, leaflets on home gardening practices and hand tools
produced by local artisans, some of which were made using
recycled war material.
With the support of
the government of Switzerland, FAO provided agricultural tools,
seeds and fertilizers to ex-soldiers in Kunduz participating in
the UN's Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration
Programme this autumn, helping them return to civilian life.
The governments of Belgium, Germany,
Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Switzerland, and the
United States contributed to FAO's seed distribution
Information Officer, FAO
(+39) 06 5705