FAO seeks emergency assistance for Kenyan agriculture
Drought and crop failure take a heavy toll
10 August 2004, Nairobi, Kenya -- Responding to Kenya's call for international assistance in the face of severe drought and crop failure, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has appealed to donors for $3.6 million to fund four emergency agriculture projects to assist rural families threatened by hunger. The FAO appeal is part of the UN 2004 Flash Appeal for the Drought and Food Security Crisis in Kenya.
Information and analysis
The first project, budgeted at $550,000 will coordinate information and analysis on vulnerable populations, emergency needs of the agriculture sector and track the impact of the emergency responses. It will also help coordinate efforts of government departments, UN agencies and NGOs that will participate in the emergency response.
Inputs for agriculture
The second project, estimated at $825,000, will provide essential agriculture inputs for the October planting season. Efforts will target both the semi-arid regions of Kenya and higher rainfall areas.
Help for herders
A third project, to be funded at $1.5 million will help minimize livestock deaths caused by opportunistic diseases and parasites. It will also ensure water access to core breeding stock and a subsidized destocking programme that will provide meat to emergency food distribution programmes in affected regions.
Assistance to combat aflatoxin
Kenya has been facing one of the worst aflatoxin outbreaks in the world because of poor post-harvest management and storage of cereals, according to FAO. This grain mould makes cereals unfit for consumption and has led to more than 100 deaths since May 2004. In response, FAO's fourth project valued at $750,000 will support community aflatoxin prevention strategies and promote alternative storage options prior to the next harvest.
According to Bruce Isaacson, FAO Representative in Kenya, "With the short-season rains coming in October, vulnerable households do not have the capacity to assure their future well-being without assistance. FAO sees the need for urgent intervention to preserve and rebuild the livelihoods of affected people and to reduce the causes of food insecurity."
HIV/AIDS amplifies the threat from hunger
On 14 July 2004, the President of the Republic of Kenya declared an emergency in Kenya and appealed to the international community for humanitarian assistance to deal with crop failures and poor pasture and livestock conditions caused by poor rainfall in some areas of the country. Kenya's problems are made worse by chronic high levels of poverty and exacerbated by the HIV/AIDS pandemic.
Information Officer, FAO
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