New Zealand to support vulnerable rural Afghan with emergency agricultural inputs and cash assistance

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06 April 2022, Kabul: New Zealand is funding with USD 2 million a new project of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) to provide humanitarian assistance in the form of agricultural inputs and cash assistance to 94 500 vulnerable rural people from farming communities in the provinces of Kunduz, Nangarhar, Parwan and Wardak.

“We welcome New Zealand’s first ever contribution to FAO emergency and resilience programme at this critical point in time for Afghanistan. Farmers need quality seed in hand to plant in early spring, and secure their harvest this year. New Zealand’s support will help make this happen,” said Richard Trenchard, FAO Representative in Afghanistan.

“Following on from our recent humanitarian contributions in Afghanistan, New Zealand is pleased to support FAO’s initiatives to help rural Afghan people to grow food, feed themselves and remain self-reliant. FAO is one of the few organizations with the technical expertise and capacity to deliver inside Afghanistan at present,” a New Zealand government spokesperson said.

Spring and summer crops cultivation

Thanks to this new funding, FAO will assist 49 000 people from marginal and vulnerable farming households in northeastern Afghanistan with a spring and summer cultivation package. This assistance provides farmers with a chance to plant wheat in low-lying parts of the country, or maize and high-protein legumes, like mung bean and chickpea.

A wheat cultivation assistance package worth USD 157 can grow enough staple food to meet the consumption needs of a family of seven for a full year. It consists of certified wheat seeds, fertilizers and training. 

“USD 157 is less than one-quarter of the cost of purchasing the same amount of grain in the local market, which vulnerable farmers without income cannot afford. It is a very efficient intervention,” added Trenchard.

Cash assistance

45 500 people will benefit either through cash for work or unconditional transfers or cash assistance. Each family will receive the equivalent to USD 100 in the local currency, Afghanis, to cover the most immediate food and basic needs. 

Many food insecure families are currently forced selling their livelihood assets in despair just to buy food. Cash assistance is essential for these families to avoid resorting these extreme coping mechanisms.

42 000 people will benefit from FAO’s intervention funded by New Zealand through cash for work activities designed to build or rehabilitate vital small-scale community irrigation infrastructures. This is a key intervention to improve access to water, a scarce resource across these four provinces, while providing short term employment opportunities and injecting cash in the local economy. Each worker will be engaged for 20 days.

FAO will also channel New Zealand’s funding through unconditional cash transfers aimed at benefitting 3 500 people directly. This specific assistance will assist the most vulnerable groups that cannot engage in cash for work activities such as households headed by disabled people, pregnant women, widow or elderly.

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