13 January 2004, Rome --
The recent earthquake in the city of Bam in Iran has seriously
affected the agricultural sector in the region, the Food and
Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) said in a
Due to widespread damage
to buildings and infrastructure, commercial activities in the
city of Bam and the surroundings have almost completely stopped.
Date plantation owners, mostly small-scale
farmers, are among the worst hit, FAO said. Families dependent
on livestock production are also badly affected.
FAO launched today an appeal for $2.5 million to
assist farming families affected by the earthquake. Repairing
irrigation systems to restore water supply for most affected
date plantations, providing agricultural inputs and support for
livestock farmers will be the main focus of FAO's emergency
An FAO mission is currently
visiting Bam to assess the damage to the agriculture sector and
provide detailed information on the assistance needed.
In the area hit by the earthquake,
agriculture is mainly based on fruit production: dates (15 000
ha), pistachios, citrus (7 000 ha), vegetables and cereals.
Livestock also plays an important role,
with a total herd of 45 000 large and 220 000 small animals.
Milk production is a major activity with mostly small-holders
cultivating fodder crops. Agriculture provides employment for
over 25 percent of the district's population of 230 000
According to first
assessments, the earthquake has seriously damaged the
traditional irrigation infrastructure, the quanat water
channels, as well as several wells. Greenhouses, motor-pumps,
agricultural machinery and 38 rural small-and medium-scale date
conservation and refrigeration units have been seriously
As storage facilities have also
been affected, there is a serious concern about the availability
of seed and animal feed for the coming planting season.
There is also concern about 650 livestock
shelters that have been destroyed and the loss of 450 large and
around 20 000 small animals.
appealing for $2.5 million to reconstruct the ten worst affected
and most critical quanats, to repair the 20 worst damaged deep
wells, to procure water pumps and for other rehabilitation
activities in the date palm plantations.
Additional funds will be needed to support the
economic recovery of the population in the disaster-affected
areas. In particular, FAO is planning to rehabilitate damaged
agricultural infrastructure, repair livestock shelters and
provide animal feed as well as seeds and fertilizers.
interventions will assist the most-affected farmers to return to
their fields and restart production. This assistance will
contribute to ensure food security of the most vulnerable
families hit by the disaster," said Anne M. Bauer,
Director, Emergency Operations and Rehabilitation Division.
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