FAO in Afghanistan

FAO marks World Food Day to highlight dire food insecurity situation in Afghanistan

A farmer harvests his wheat in Balkh Province of Afghanistan

16 October 2022, Kabul-Afghanistan: The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) today globally marks World Food Day (WFD) with the theme ‘leave no one behind’ to promote worldwide awareness and action for those who suffer from hunger as well as for the need to ensure healthy diets for all, leaving no one behind.

The WFD 2022 is being celebrated with multiple global challenges including the effects of the pandemic, conflict, climate change, rising food prices, and international tensions. All of this is affecting global food security. In just two years, the number of acutely food insecure people has risen from 135 million (2019) to 193 million (2021), and 2022 is likely to prove worse. Today, 3.1b million people around the world cannot afford a healthy diet. Hunger continues to rise - affecting 828m people in 2021. Some 970 000 people are living or expected to live in famine conditions globally– Afghanistan being one of the countries.

High levels of acute food insecurity persist across Afghanistan due to a combination of factors, including a collapsing economy and continuing drought. The increasing costs of vital agricultural inputs, especially chemical fertilizers, on the international markets have exacerbated the food security situation, pushing food prices to new highs, and placing pressure on countries in the region supplying wheat to Afghanistan to restrict food exports, giving priority to their respective domestic consumption.

This has resulted in lost livelihoods, rising cases of debt as well as rising cases of malnutrition. Agriculture is the backbone of Afghan livelihoods and critical for Afghanistan's economy. Around 70 percent of Afghans live in rural areas and agriculture accounts for at least 25 percent of GDP while an estimated 80 percent of all livelihoods depend directly or indirectly on agriculture. In addition, 58 percent of Afghan population is employed in Agriculture.

According to the Integrated Food Insecurity Situation (IPC) for March - May 2022 and projection for June - November 2022, nearly 20 million Afghans were classified in Crisis or Emergency, with 13 037 000 people in IPC 3 (people in crisis) and 6 593 000 people in IPC 4 (people in emergency) category. For the first time since the introduction of IPC in Afghanistan in 2011, catastrophe conditions (IPC Phase 5) were detected for 20 000 people in the province of Ghor, one of the most remote, vulnerable provinces of Afghanistan.

To prevent further deterioration of the situation, 38 percent of the population was targeted for Humanitarian Food Assistance through the UN 2022 Humanitarian Response Plan.  FAO scaled up its assistance to farmers and herders in rural areas and will assist more than 9 million people in 2022 through a range of interventions supporting crop, livestock and vegetable production, cash transfers and the rehabilitation of vital irrigation infrastructure and systems. 

“The Agriculture sector in Afghanistan has the potential to leave no one behind by creating inclusive sources of employment for vulnerable groups like women, youth and the landless. Supporting agriculture is a cost-effective and strategic intervention that delivers great short-term impact as lifesaving support, while it paves the way for longer-term recovery and sustainable development,” said Richard Trenchard, the FAO Representative in Afghanistan.

FAO has always supported the efforts that lead to food and nutrition security and agriculture growth in Afghanistan. FAO’s intervention ranges from policy development, improved food security, increased livestock production, water, land, and forest management, resilience building, humanitarian assistance, as well as climate change adaptation and mitigation. Supporting agriculture is a cost-effective and strategic intervention that delivers great short-term impact as lifesaving support, while it paves way for longer-term recovery and sustainable development.

Globally, the FAO Strategic Framework 2022-31 prioritizes transformation of agri-food systems across all our work by putting the smallholder farmer in the centre, in support of the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals. The 2021 United Nations Food Systems Summit and other multilateral initiatives have initiated dialogues and pathways, putting agri-food systems transformation high on the global agenda. FAO continues to support implementation of national pathways for transformation by hosting the UN Food Systems Summit Follow-Up Coordination Hub on behalf of the United Nations system.

A comprehensive and strategic transformation of the global agri-food system culminates in the ‘Four Betters.’

Better production: ensuring efficient sustainable consumption and production patterns, inclusive food and agriculture supply chains at local, regional, and global levels.

Better nutrition: ending hunger, promoting nutritious foods, and increasing access to healthy diets, which can be buoyed by tackling food loss and waste and making sure that markets and trade are accessible and open.

Better environment: protecting, restoring, and promoting sustainable use of terrestrial and marine ecosystems, promoting a good environment for farming systems, and combating climate change through reduction, reutilization, recycling, and residual management approaches.

Better life: reducing inequalities - between urban and rural areas, rich and poor, and men and women - and promoting inclusive economic growth.


Media contact:

Lydia Limbe, FAO

[email protected]

Tel. +93 79 487 4975