United States donates $16 million to FAO for flood-hit Pakistan farmers

Northwest region to benefit with seeds and fertilizers for wheat planting season

23 September 2010, Islamabad/Rome – The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is to provide FAO with $16 million to support wheat planting, prevent further livestock losses and de-silt irrigation systems in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, one of the provinces most severely affected by last month’s floods.

The donation marks an auspicious start for FAO’s $107 million appeal in the UN’s Pakistan Floods Emergency Response Plan appeal, announced in New York on Friday following the worst natural disaster on record in terms of farming and production losses.

Rapid purchases

“With this generous donation confirmed we will be able to rapidly purchase inputs, especially wheat seeds and fertilizer, which should help to keep production going during the all-important planting season for wheat” said Luigi Damiani, FAO’s Senior Official leading the Organization’s efforts in Pakistan.

The U.S. funds will cover around a quarter of the total wheat seed requirements for the “Rabi” wheat planting season in the northwestern Pakistani province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The Rabi season in the region runs from now until late October.

Wheat staple

Unless farmers receive seeds over the next month they will not be able to plant wheat, the staple diet of poor rural people in Pakistan, for a year. Although much land has been affected by the floods and cannot be planted immediately, many farmers will still be able to plant wheat on the land that is workable.

The donation will also fund cash-for-work projects to clean and repair irrigation systems and provide women farmers with much-needed vegetable seeds to boost family nutrition. The programme will also provide supplementary feed and veterinary support for livestock to prevent disease outbreaks.

1.3 million people to benefit

More than 160 000 households will benefit from the United States of America’s donation, providing food security for over 1.3 million rural farming people. The programme places special emphasis on women, female headed households and families with children under five years old.

The floods in Pakistan have left around 10 million people vulnerable to hunger, destroying food stocks, around a quarter of Pakistan’s standing crops in the flood affected areas and killing more than a million heads of livestock. Agriculture is the main source of livelihood for 80 percent of the flood-affected population in Pakistan.

Photo: ©FAO/Truls Brekke
Farmer walks away with animal feed donated by FAO to flood victims in Charsadda, north-west Pakistan.

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