Chad vows to eradicate hunger, boost community resilience
Ndjamena — Chad will embark on an ambitious plan to eliminate food insecurity and boost progress on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), in this Sahelian country where up to 25 percent of the population face the risk of going hungry and more than a third of children are chronically malnourished.
“Chad can realize greater productivity, boost the incomes of small-holder farmers, and make nutritious balanced food more accessible, reliable and affordable for all people,” said UNDP Administrator Helen Clark, launching the plan with the country’s Prime Minister, Joseph Djimrangar Dadnadji.
Deployed over a period of three years, the US $1 billion scheme will bring together government and local and international development actors to identify bottlenecks and practical solutions to tackle food security over time.
The objective is to cut the country’s malnutrition rate in half and reduce the percentage of the population suffering from chronic hunger to less than 21 per cent by 2015.
Consistent with Chad’s National Development Plan, these efforts are expected to reduce poverty further and accelerate progress on other development goals, including those relating to maternal health and child mortality.
The programme will focus on the development of small-scale irrigation, access to seeds, fertilizer and equipment for small producers, with a particular emphasis on women. It will also aim to diversify crops and train farmers on climate change adaptation techniques.
Chad has faced recurring food crises since the 1970s, due to a combination of climate-related events such as droughts and floods, the massive spread of locusts and of conflict. Similar issues perpetuate vulnerability elsewhere in the Sahel.
During her official visit to the country, the Administrator traveled to the Eastern region of Dar Sila, where UNDP, the Government of Chad, partner agencies and civil society have teamed up to pilot an integrated approach to building resilience at the community level.
The programme aims to help all people living in these areas – be they local or from other countries – to grow and sell food, as well as manage the environment more sustainably.
It will also support local authorities as they draw up development plans to deliver better services, preserve the rule of law, and prevent conflict through further strengthening of local peace committees.
Chad has ample natural resources, accelerated rates of growth, and progress on a number of MDGs, such as primary education, the number of women elected to parliament and combating HIV/AIDS. More than half of the population, however, lives below the national poverty line, with limited access to basic social services.
During her visit, Helen Clark is meeting with a number of government officials, including the President Idriss Déby Itno, women leaders, international partners and local dignitaries.
The Administrator’s visit is happening just days before world leaders convene in New York, during the United Nations General Assembly, to discuss progress on the MDGs and determine the nature of the post-2015 global development agenda.
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