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Saturday, June 20, 2015

Over $20m needed to rescue Nepal farmers – FAO

Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) as part of the revised United Nations (UN) Flash Appeal for Nepal has said over $20 million is urgently needed to support farmers in earthquake-hit Nepal to resume agricultural activities, reports NaijaAgroNet.

The organization seeking to starve off the threat of prolonged food insecurity facing an estimated one million people, NaijaAgroNet learnt has received only 13 per cent of the $23.4 million emergency agricultural assistance.

The disaster, according to an FAO-led Agricultural Livelihood Impact Appraisal, has disrupted agricultural activities threatening the livelihoods of rural families, hitting hard in six Nepal districts causing half of all farming households to lose nearly all of their stored crops of rice, maize, wheat and millet, with some 16 percent of cattle and 36 percent of poultry lost in the disaster creating a detrimental effect on rural household consumption and income.

A representative of FAO in Nepal, Somsak Pipoppinyo told NaijaAgroNet that two-thirds of Nepalis depend on farming for their livelihood, "agriculture is a critical priority because two-thirds of Nepalis depend on farming for their livelihoods,’ he added that,’current levels of international assistance for Nepal's earthquake-affected farmers will deliver ‘only a fraction’ of the assistance urgently required."

Somsak also stressed that there is limited window to act, noting how rice seeds have to be distributed urgently before the start of the heavy monsoon rains which are expected to arrive in the coming days.

In addition, FAO’s appraisal team, noted that the repair and functioning of irrigation systems will be critical for the winter cropping season, as well as barley and wheat seeds and recommends that the most urgent needs for the current cropping season are seeds and fertilizers, followed by irrigation, tools and technical support, as well as urgent shelter, feed water, medicine and vaccinations, for livestock breeding.

NaijaAgroNet learnt that the organization has received around $3 million for emergency relief from Belgium, Italy and Norway; which has aided it to distribute 40,000 (5 kilogram) bags of rice seeds to the six most-affected districts of Dhading, Dolakha, Gorkha, Nuwakot, Rasuwa and Sindhupalchowk, in time for farmers to plant before the monsoon.

Daniel Nsolibe/GEE

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