The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) said it is distributing high-quality certified wheat seeds to more than one million farmers across Afghanistan to ensure they are able to grow food during the spring season.
“The wheat sector has really struggled this year. An acute drought, the economic implosion meant that yields were low. It meant that farmers have really struggled to produce food for themselves and for the market to raise incomes, but also to produce seeds for this coming harvest. This is why it's been so important that FAO has been able to increase its support to households working in 31 out of 34 provinces in Afghanistan,” said Richard Trenchard, FAO Representative in Afghanistan.
The FAO added that 2021’s harvest was severely hampered by the drought triggered by the La Niña weather event. Many farmers were not able to access sufficient seeds for the winter planting season due to limited seeds from their severely reduced harvests or due to less income.
Trenchard also said that the FAO will also provide vegetable seeds and other seeds for the spring and summer growing seasons.
“We've been able to reach farmers with seeds and also with fertilizers. This will ensure they have food. It will ensure also that wheat is in the market. It'll ensure importantly [that] they have seeds, good quality seeds for the coming seasons as well,” said Richard Trenchard, FAO Representative in Afghanistan.
According to the FAO, almost 23 million people in Afghanistan are experiencing acute food insecurity due to the combination of drought, COVID-19 and economic collapse and more than 70 percent of people in Afghanistan live in rural areas.
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) also said that agriculture is a crucial part of Afghanistan's economy on which 80 percent of all livelihoods in this country depends, directly or indirectly.
It typically contributes more than 25 percent of total GDP, said the FAO. Both agriculture and livestock production have been severely affected by the ongoing crisis.
Afghanistan's harsh winter aggravates the situation of farmers and herder across the country.
This year, FAO will continue to provide assistance to farmers for the next spring wheat planting season aiming to reach another 300,000 farmers.
FAO’s overall requirement for its humanitarian response in 2022 is USD $197 million.