La résilience

Afghanistan | FAO enabled markets in Afghanistan to remain open and safe at the peak of the pandemic

May 2021

Thanks to the generous support of the Kingdom of Belgium, the Federal Republic of Germany, the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), which is managed by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), and through a number of humanitarian projects covering the most food-insecure provinces of Afghanistan, FAO helped safeguard the steady functioning of the main agricultural and livestock/live animal markets across Afghanistan at the peak of the pandemic. This was at a time when the main livestock and agricultural markets across Afghanistan were experiencing a sharp decline in participation and sales. For example, at the market in Jalalabad, sales of poultry and eggs declined by up to 80 percent in April 2020.

FAO developed standard operating procedures and guidelines on COVID-19 safety measures to be adopted in agricultural and livestock/live animal markets in Afghanistan to prevent the spread of the disease. They were developed in consultation with the Ministry of Agriculture Irrigation and Livestock (MAIL) of Afghanistan. These guidelines were translated in the national languages (Dari and Pashto) and printed using visually rich content for ease of use in sensitization sessions. 

Through its implementing partners, FAO distributed ten types of pictorial Information, Education and Communication (IEC) materials and four types of pictorial flyers/posters for markets, herders, farmers, poultry keepers, and labourers. This distribution took place alongside specific sensitization and awareness raising sessions on COVID-19 safety measures to be adopted in markets, and were conducted at the markets themselves. Three regular practices were implemented in 23 markets, namely: (i) spacing between stalls; (ii) physical distancing observed by loaders, customers, trader, vendors and (iii) use of disinfectants for cleaning the markets and stalls on a daily basis. FAO also provided COVID-19 personal protection equipment, hygiene kits and disinfectants to market stakeholders. Lastly, to ensure the sustainability of this intervention, contingency plans were formulated for uninterrupted functioning of agricultural markets using COVID-19-safe approaches, timely sowing of autumn and winter crops, and timely transhumance to summer and winter pastures by Kuchis (nomadic herders) in six provinces.

Projects related: 

1. OSRO/AFG/007/BEL –Emergency agriculture assistance to food insecure and vulnerable marginal farming households impacted by COVID-19 and other recent shocks, funded by the Kingdom of Belgium.

2. OSRO/AFG/008/CHA – TEAM: Time-critical Emergency Agriculture inputs assistance to Marginal and food insecure farming households to mitigate impacts of COVID-19 and ongoing food crisis, funded by Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), managed by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), through its Underfunded Emergencies window. 

3. OSRO/GLO/017/CHA – Preventing and responding to the impact of COVID-19 outbreak on food security, also funded by CERF, managed by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), through its Underfunded Emergencies window.

Author: FAO in Afghanistan

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