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Japan pledges new funding to FAO's emergency operations in Afghanistan

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Funding to provide time-critical agricultural support to 8 000 food insecure smallholder families

1 February 2021, Kabul -- Japan has announced today its decision to disburse USD 122.2 million to support humanitarian and development programmes in the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. The new funding is part of Japan's previous commitment to provide financial assistance to Afghanistan by up to USD 180 million per year between 2021 and 2024.

Japan's assistance will be allocated to various humanitarian and development sectors, including food security, so to provide urgent and immediate support to the hardest-hit population by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Thanks to the generous funding from Japan (USD 1.8 million) under this allocation, FAO will be able to assist 8 000 vulnerable smallholder households (about 56 000 people), including women-headed households and landless labour, which are directly dependent on farming or herding.

Support to improve near-term resilience and food security

"This intervention will mitigate the adverse impacts of COVID-19, enhance their food security and nutrition situation, as well as it will help increase their near-term resilience by providing time-critical and agricultural season-sensitive support," said Rajendra Aryal, FAO Representative in Afghanistan.

"Japan is pleased to continue the long-standing and fruitful collaboration with FAO in Afghanistan through this new funding. FAO's solid technical expertise and proved capacity to deliver timely make the UN specialized agency one of Japan's preferred partners to improve the lives of Afghan people in need, in particular in this time of distress," said His Excellency, OKADA Takashi, Japan's Ambassador to the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.

56 000 people to receive different agricultural packages

The activities under this upcoming funding will be implemented in Badghis, Daykundi, Ghor, and Uruzgan provinces. All four provinces are facing severe widespread food insecurity -- according to the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC), they are projected to be in Phase 4 - Emergency/Acute food insecurity.

Through Japan's funding, 4 000 vulnerable families, with access to two to four jeribs of rainfed or irrigated land, will benefit from the agriculture summer cultivation and winter wheat production packages.

Another 4 000 vulnerable households -- mainly landless labourers, women-headed and marginal landowners -- will benefit from a nutrition-sensitive kitchen gardening vegetable cultivation kit, as well as cash-based interventions (cash-for-work and unconditional cash transfers). Furthermore, 1 100 of the most vulnerable households from these 4 000 vulnerable households will receive further support, either through a backyard poultry production package or through solar driers micro-processors.

**Contact\ **Alberto Trillo Barca\ Communications Officer, FAO Afghanistan, Emergency and Resilience Unit\ Alberto.TrilloBarca@fao.org