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Farmers grappling with Afghanistan drought urgently need seed and animal feed

Staff Writer |
A new drought response will help 1.4 million of the most vulnerable drought-affected people in Afghanistan during the coming winter season and into April next year, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) announced on the sidelines of the Geneva Conference on Afghanistan (27-28 November).

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Around 10.6 million people, or close to half of the country's rural population, are severely food insecure.

This level of hunger has many causes, including years of civil unrest, but it has been made worse by a damaging drought triggered by low snowfall last winter followed by rainfall of up to 70 percent less than normal in some places. Many families have resorted to desperate coping measures including skipping meals, selling off their livestock or moving to makeshift displacement camps.

FAO is working with partner organizations to provide vulnerable farmers in 22 of Afghanistan's 34 provinces - particularly households headed by women or people with disabilities - with urgently-needed wheat seeds and fertilizers in time for the winter planting season when much-needed rains are forecast to finally arrive.

Livestock protection measures, including concentrated livestock feed, fodder crop seed, and animal health services are also being provided. Livestock is a key source of food and livelihoods for the majority of rural Afghans; keeping livestock healthy through the harsh winter is therefore essential for rural food security, preserves breeding stocks and sustains rural livelihoods for the coming years.

FAO's drought response is also intended to help people stay at their places of origin and reduce drought-induced displacements.

FAO requires $30 million to carry out this emergency response, he added.

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