Food Security: FAO seeks $940m to support 32m people in 30 countries

The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) says it is seeking 940 million dollars to meet urgent needs of  more than  32 million food-insecure people living  in more than 30 countries.

The organisation made this known in its 2019 humanitarian appeal in Rome.

In a document available in Abuja on Tuesday, the organisation named Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan, Mozambique, Yemen and Syria among the beneficiaries of the planned support programme.

It noted that these nations depended on agriculture, largely, for their survival and livelihood.

The document showed that the organisation’s funding requirements in 2019 stood at 3.4 million dollars for 1.3 million people.

FAO said Yemen had the highest requirement of 218.5 million dollars, the world’s largest humanitarian crisis where it planned to reach 8.6 million people with high impact interventions combining cash and agricultural livelihood support.

The organisation expressed the hope of reaching the people through a range of interventions aimed at boosting local food production and enhancing nutrition while strengthening the communities’ resilience to crises.

FAO said the global response to its request would assist in addressing the root causes of rising food insecurity and malnutrition, particularly of the most vulnerable people.

The organisation identified the planned activities to include provision of agricultural inputs such as seeds, tools, fertiliser for crop farming and livestock breeding, adding that it would provide animal feed and veterinary care as well as conduct training in farming best practices.

The FAO added that it would consider the El Niño hazards usually associated with heavy rains, floods and drought aggravating global food insecurity and the coping capacities of vulnerable populations.

The report quoted Dominique Burgeon, Director of FAO Emergency and Resilience Division, as saying that it had become crucial to invest in agriculture and food systems support.

This the director said was necessary to save lives and enable families trapped by war or living in hard to reach, areas to rapidly resume local food production and earn income.

Burgeon said the support had also become imperative because agriculture was the main source of livelihood for the majority of populations affected by crisis.

He said the support would include boosting local food production and improve household nutrition and campaign to help livestock-dependent families to keep their herds healthy and alive.

The director said other supports were in addition to natural resource and land management projects to mitigate risks of floods or erosion and build community resilience in the face of climate impacts.

Burgeon said that the major thrust of the support would involve cash assistance that put money into the pockets of the most vulnerable people, to enable them afford to feed their families and resume household food production, in the aftermath of crises.

“Conflict and extreme climate events remain the main drivers behind severe food crises, which often occur simultaneously and further undermine all dimensions of food security food availability, access and utilisation.“

He expressed concern that climate-related shocks and insecurity had continued to force significant number of people to abandon their homes, disrupting their livelihoods,reducing access to income-generating opportunities.

The director also said such circumstance had put pressure on limited resources, particularly the effect on food security of theb displaced populations and host communities.

“Prolonged drought conditions have resulted in consecutive poor harvests in countries already facing high level of food insecurity and malnutrition.”

The FAO said  it would continue to scale up  response to meet the most urgent needs of affected communities in 2019 and strengthen their resilience and adaptive capacities.

The FAO said it would also help to address the root causes of rising food insecurity and malnutrition facing those that are the most vulnerable.

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