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Sweden’s funding supports the most vulnerable food insecure farmers in Afghanistan

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FAO to deliver emergency and resilience assistance to 168 000 vulnerable livestock owners and farmers

13 April 2021, Nili (Daikundi province) – Vulnerable farmers and livestock keepers and owners of the most food-insecure provinces of Afghanistan will benefit from the funding (USD 3.6 million) provided by Sweden for FAO to assist 168 000 people in Badakhshan, Daikundi, Nuristan, and Samangan provinces.

This humanitarian response will protect agriculture-based livelihoods, build farmers and herders’ resilience to withstand future shocks like the expected drought-like impacts from La Niña, and improve their food and nutrition security.

"In these difficult times, Sweden continues to stand by the people of Afghanistan. FAO's expertise and capacity to deliver emergency assistance in the most hard-to-reach remote and rural areas ensures that no one is left behind. Protecting agriculture-based livelihoods is key to achieve food security, an essential element to cement peace and stability in the country," said Torkel Stiernloef, Ambassador of Sweden to the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, during the joint visit today (FAO-Swedish Embassy in Afghanistan) to attend the distribution of agricultural inputs to herders and farmers in Nili, Daikundi province.

"The people of Daikundi highly appreciate the timely response to drought thanks to the financial support of Sweden and the technical expertise of FAO. Daikundi has a great potential for developing agriculture-based livelihoods, specifically almond. It is an honour that such a high-profile mission has visited the province and vulnerable communities," said Rashida Shahidi, Governor of Daikundi province.

"Sweden's funding comes at a critical time for the country, with high numbers of food insecure people in rural areas due to conflict, unemployment, and increasing food prices. Also, in anticipation to the expected impacts of La Niña in agricultural and livestock production, this anticipatory action is necessary not only to safeguard agriculture-based livelihoods, build resilience and improve food security, but also to avoid vulnerable farmers from resorting to rural migration," said Rajendra Aryal, FAO Representative in Afghanistan.

This intervention is part of FAO's Humanitarian Response Plan to assist 3.5 million people in Afghanistan in 2021, for which the UN agency requests USD 50 million. "Thanks to the generous commitment of resource partners like Sweden, FAO has already mobilized USD 15 million so far in 2021. Nevertheless, as the humanitarian needs to attend are far greater than this, we look forward to their continued support in order to be able to deliver the full plan," said the FAO Representative in Afghanistan.

Emergency agriculture and livestock support

Through this humanitarian assistance, 56 000 people (8 000 families) will receive a wheat assistance package, including certified high-quality seeds and fertilizers, which otherwise would not have been able to afford. This support is coupled with a specific training to improve wheat productivity, and geared towards sustainable, nutrition-sensitive and climate smart crop cultivation.

Another 56 000 people will be provided with a livestock protection package, featuring 100 kg of concentrated animal feed, provided alongside animal health assistance in the form of deworming medicines. Both emergency assistance packages will be key to anticipate the drought-like impacts of La Niña expected in 2021.

Building communities’ resilience

8 000 vulnerable households will also rehabilitate 100 local water harvesting infrastructures and flood protection walls through the Cash-for-Work modality. 56 000 people will also benefit from unconditional cash transfers, nutrition-sensitive kitchen gardening packages and related trainings.

COVID-19 prevention

Throughout this intervention, FAO will also sensitize people regarding COVID-19. All precautionary measures to prevent and minimize the spread of the virus will be strictly followed throughout the implementation of the activities.