FAO optimistic about relaunch of agriculture in Kosovo

Significant progress has been made in the rehabilitation of agriculture in Kosovo, FAO said in a statement today, one year after the end of the war. Kosovo has become one of the Organization's biggest emergency operations ever.

"There are good reasons to be optimistic for the agricultural sector in Kosovo: 80 000 ha have been planted with wheat, which is only 10 to12 percent less than a normal year," said Daniele Donati, FAO's Emergency Coordinator in Pristina. "We estimate a harvest of about 240 000 tonnes. The total need for Kosovo is 350 - 360 000 tonnes, but traditionally Kosovo always had a deficit in grain. If we take into account that 60 000 tonnes of food aid will be distributed, then only 60 000 tonnes will need to be commercially imported."

Since FAO started its activities in Kosovo in July 1999, three short-term projects have been completed and 15 are ongoing, including the distribution of seeds and fertilizers, multiplication of seeds, livestock vaccination, repair of tractors and combine-harvesters, as well as reforestation. So far, FAO's total emergency aid has amounted to around US$13.5 million, financed by the Netherlands, the United States, Finland, Sweden, Norway, Luxembourg, Italy, the United Kingdom and France.

Based on the positive results achieved so far, FAO is planning to scale down its emergency assistance. The number of beneficiary rural families should decrease from 70 000 to 40 000 by the end of the year. The agency has appealed for US$17 million to assist these families until the end of 2000.

Full press release

12 June 2000

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