Burundi

Burundi: FAO distributes seeds to 260,000 vulnerable households

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NAIROBI, 27 February (IRIN) - The emergency unit of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has launched a seeds and tools distribution programme for 226,500 "vulnerable" households in Burundi, the UN agency reported on Wednesday.

The households represent 18.5 percent of the whole population, FAO said. The programme began on Sunday, with each household receiving a seed kit comprising 10-15 kg of haricot bean seeds and 10 grammes of vegetable seeds for what FAO describes as the 2003B cropping season. "During the same cropping season, 166,500 vulnerable households will also receive a digging hoe," FAO reported.

The agency is scheduled to distribute maize and soya bean seeds during the "marshy cropping season (2003C) at the beginning of June". According to FAO, the World Food Programme will support this programme by providing 170,304 vulnerable households in eight provinces with a seed-protection ration of 20 days. "Estimated harvests of 25,000 mt of beans and 6,000 mt of fresh vegetables are expected by the end of May," FAO reported.

In a report issued in conjunction with FAO and the United Nations Children's Fund, Burundi's Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock said on 21 February that the prospects for agricultural production were "disastrous". The ministry reported that a seed and fertiliser shortage, as well as insecurity, rampant malaria and late rains, were the causes of a looming food shortage.

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