Kabul [Afghanistan], April 4 (ANI): New Zealand is funding with USD 2 million a new project of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) to provide agricultural inputs and cash aid to 94,500 people from farming communities in the provinces of Kunduz, Nangarhar, Parwan and Wardak.
"We welcome New Zealand's first ever contribution to FAO emergency and resilience programme at this critical point in time for Afghanistan. Farmers need quality seed in hand to plant in early spring, and secure their harvest this year. New Zealand's support will help make this happen," said Richard Trenchard, FAO Representative in Afghanistan.
"Following on from our recent humanitarian contributions in Afghanistan, New Zealand is pleased to support FAO's initiatives to help rural Afghan people to grow food, feed themselves and remain self-reliant. FAO is one of the few organizations with the technical expertise and capacity to deliver inside Afghanistan at present," a New Zealand government spokesperson said.
From the new funding, FAO will assist 49,000 people from marginal and vulnerable farming households in northeastern Afghanistan with a spring and summer cultivation package.
In a press statement, FAO said that this assistance provides farmers with a chance to plant wheat in low-lying parts of the country, or maize and high-protein legumes, like mung bean and chickpea.
A wheat cultivation assistance package worth USD 157 can grow enough staple food to meet the consumption needs of a family of seven for a full year. It consists of certified wheat seeds, fertilizers and training.
"USD 157 is less than one-quarter of the cost of purchasing the same amount of grain in the local market, which vulnerable farmers without income cannot afford. It is a very efficient intervention," added Trenchard.
As many as 45,500 people will benefit either through cash for work or unconditional transfers or cash assistance. Each family will receive the equivalent to USD 100 in the local currency, Afghanis, to cover the most immediate food and basic needs.
According to FAO, many food-insecure families are currently forced selling their livelihood assets in despair just to buy food. Cash assistance is essential for these families to avoid resorting these extreme coping mechanisms.
42,000 people will benefit from FAO's intervention funded by New Zealand through cash for work activities designed to build or rehabilitate vital small-scale community irrigation infrastructures.
This is a key intervention to improve access to water, a scarce resource across these four provinces, while providing short term employment opportunities and injecting cash in the local economy. (ANI)