TRIPOLI/TUNIS – The Food & Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the World Food Programme (WFP) are marking World Food Day with innovative initiatives, including community-focused and emergency agricultural activities and assessments, to strengthen and support Libya.
Part of building solutions is prioritizing data collection and analysis on the ground to ensure projects address local needs. FAO and WFP have carried out a joint assessment that will be released this month. The assessment combines WFP’s mobile technology, which reached 118 farmers in the east, west and south of Libya, and FAO’s semi-structured interviews of a range of local actors including farmers, fishermen, government representatives and industries, to examine the impact of COVID-19 on food value chains and food security in Libya.
WFP’s community-focused agricultural activities include the recent launch of an Agriculture Information Network, a platform for peer-to-peer exchanges that WFP is powering, and which currently has almost 500 members. These groups, a combination of agriculture experts and younger farmers, are already sharing local challenges and solutions. A hydroponics project is also under development, as is the construction of a market in Ubari, southern Libya, an initiative born of WFP’s partnership with the United States Institute for Peace (USIP), whose discussions with youth and local actors helped shape this project based on the needs voiced: to create opportunity for the people to grow.
WFP’s ongoing work with vulnerable population groups affected by Libya’s multi-crisis context also includes support for food insecure refugees and asylum seekers, undertaken in partnership with the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), and an upcoming food assistance project with the International Organization for Migration (IOM).
FAO ongoing activities focus on reaching the most vulnerable rural farmers to improve resilience, support employment, capacity development, control of animal and plant diseases outbreaks. FAO partnerships include working with WFP, the UN Development Programme (UNDP), and IOM.
The need for concerted action to improve agricultural production while enhancing global supply chains and ending food waste is captured in this year’s World Food Day theme: “Grow, Nourish, Sustain. Together”.
“Without massive improvements in the food supply chain, many fragile nations are set to become increasingly vulnerable to financial volatility and climate shocks,” said WFP Representative and Country Director in Libya Samer AbdelJaber. “The COVID-19 pandemic has caused food needs in the country to spike considerably, adding another blow. We are seeing new groups of people who need support. Hence, we have implemented programmes that provide immediate support and at the same time launched initiatives that support local economies and help communities rebuild and become resilient following shocks, whether pandemic-related or due to the ongoing conflict or both.”
WFP’s Agricultural & Livelihood Needs Assessment Report: A Study of the Fezzan Region, published in March 2020, highlighted that agriculture still represents an important source of income and food. It also showed that especially since Libya’s crisis in 2014, women -- vital yet vulnerable members of the population -- continue to increase their involvement. This is an additional reason why support to agriculture and communities is an imperative.
“The ongoing conflict has led to a dire humanitarian situation and the destruction of the country’s healthcare capacity and other basic infrastructure,” said Head of FAO Representation Office in Libya Mohammed Al-Ansi. “The COVID-19 pandemic has hit poor and vulnerable communities hard, and its related restrictions have further exacerbated the situation and increased the vulnerability of numerous households. FAO’s priority is to increase the resilience of small-scale rural farmers, including women, through emergency agriculture initiatives and controls to mitigate health threats at the animal-human-plant-environment level.”
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The United Nations World Food Programme is the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate. We are the world’s largest humanitarian organization, saving lives in emergencies and using food assistance to build a pathway to peace, stability and prosperity for people recovering from conflict, disasters and the impact of climate change.
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For more information please contact:
Abeer Etefa, WFP/Cairo, Mob. +201 0666 3435 2, Abeer.Etefa@wfp.org
Flavia Brunetti, WFP/Libya, Mob. +216 58558309, Flavia.Brunetti@wfp.org
Mariam Hamed Hassanien, FAO/Cairo, Mob. +201007335492, Mariam.Hassanien@fao.org