FAO appeals for $40 million for agricultural relief and recovery activities in Sudan
Humanitarian assistance coupled with longer-term development aid crucial to lasting peace
30 January 2006, Rome -- FAO today called for $40 million to support its agricultural relief and recovery activities in Sudan in 2006, stressing that humanitarian assistance needs to be coupled with longer-term development aid to ensure lasting peace in the country.
The appeal is part of the 2006 Work Plan for Sudan, which outlines the activities to be carried out by the UN and its partners in the country in the coming year.
Agricultural support vital
“FAO’s role is particularly crucial given the importance of agriculture in the country,” said Anne M. Bauer, Director, FAO Emergency Operations and Rehabilitation Division.
Agriculture remains the mainstay of the Sudanese economy, comprising 45 percent of national gross domestic product. Some 87 percent of the people of Sudan are dependent on agriculture for their food security and livelihoods - the vast majority practising subsistence agriculture within traditional, rainfed farming systems vulnerable to dry spells and crop pests.
“Decades of insecurity and lack of access to basic social services have undermined livelihoods, increased levels of poverty, reduced economic and educational opportunities and led to high rates of malnutrition,” said Bauer. “Supporting returnees seeking to resettle will be a top priority, and ensuring adequate materials and services to enable returnees to engage in agricultural, livestock- or fisheries-based livelihoods upon their return will be central to this process.”
Ensuring sustainable peace
Despite progress in 2005, including a peace accord that put an end to more than 20 years of civil war, Sudan's humanitarian needs for 2006 remain immense. The ongoing conflict in Darfur, the risk of a poor harvest in parts of Bahr el Ghazal and Upper Nile, the return of hundreds of thousands of displaced Sudanese and other humanitarian needs, make relief central to alleviating the suffering of the Sudanese people.
This year, FAO and its partners will support 5.52 million people with relief assistance across the country, including 2.5 million people in Darfur, as well as a projected 680 000 returnees from the North-South conflict, and ensure continued relief for other areas emerging from decades of fighting.
FAO’s proposed humanitarian assistance for Sudan in 2006 includes the distribution of seeds and tools, fishing equipment and livestock medicines to hundreds of thousands of vulnerable farming families, particularly returnees and internally displaced persons, as well as the overall coordination of agricultural relief assistance in the country.
“Early funding is essential in order to carry out time-sensitive activities,” said Bauer
Humanitarian assistance alone is not enough
But humanitarian assistance alone will not secure the developmental progress upon which a sustainable peace will be built, according to Bauer.
“FAO and its partners must build upon ongoing humanitarian assistance to begin the long-term development processes central to Sudan’s future,” she said.
In the agriculture sector, this means introducing new techniques, including training in improved methodologies for delivery of community-based animal health services, agro-processing and local seed multiplication.
Support to land tenure is another important issue, as disputes over land and property rights are a root cause of conflict in the country. FAO is seeking funding to assist the Government at every level to promote long-term accountable and decentralized land management.
Strengthening the operational capacity of the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources will also be an important focus.
“FAO’s programmes concentrate not just on providing material assets but on building the knowledge and skills of vulnerable people so that they are better able to cope with future shocks,” said Bauer.
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