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Tuesday, April 3, 2012

FAO appeals for N7.8 billion for Horn of Africa

Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations has urgently appealed for a sum of $50 million, about N7.882 billion in order to assist funding gap for priority agricultural and pastoral activities to be carried out in the Horn of Africa.
FAO revealed to NaijaAgroNet in a press statement that the fund is necessary to execute a 90day plan aim at giving farmers and pastoralists the chances to improve their livelihoods and build resilience to any future shocks.
Commenting on the issue, FAO's Sub-regional Coordinator for Eastern Africa, Castro Camarada said the international community needs to continue to support the most vulnerable households in Somalia and other arid and semi-arid lands in the Horn of Africa to cope with another possible dry spell.
NaijaAgroNet also gathered that some activities like crop and livestock production, and cash-for-work programmes are already ongoing and need improvement.
According to FAO, although the situation in the drought-affected areas of the Horn of Africa has improved significantly in recent months it is estimated 8.1 million people there are still in need of assistance (Ethiopia: 3.2 million; Kenya: 2.2 million; Somalia: 2.5 million; Djibouti 180 000).
Distributions of crop and vegetable seeds form part of the urgent activities planned for the region, and helping implement small-scale irrigation schemes and running cash-for-work activities in order to restore vital agricultural infrastructure.
Despite an end of famine conditions declared a month ago in Somalia, over 2.5 million are still facing food crisis; unable to fully meet essential food and non-food needs, majority of which reside in the southern regions.
NaijaAgroNet further gathered that José Graziano da Silva, FAO Director General on his visit to Somalia recently pledged that the organization will continue to increase its efforts in the region. He also stressed the importance of continued and coordinated actions to build up the resilience of local populations and link relief with development.
"We can't avoid droughts, but we can put measures in place to try to prevent them from becoming a famine" José Graziano da Silva affirmed.
Yinka Awosanya
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