Afghanistan donation from Germany will boost UN efforts to help poor farmers

The donation will go to the UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) to provide drought-resistant wheat and chickpea seeds, as well as fertilizer and agricultural advice, to 8,000 poor families in Samangan Province – one of the areas most severely affected by the drought. According to the Islamabad-based Office of the UN Coordinator for Afghanistan, the relief effort aims to give farmers improved seed of suitable varieties in order to increase crop yields. In addition to boosting food production, the project is expected to create opportunities for seasonal employment for labourers engaged in harvesting and processing the seed. After harvesting the crops, the farmers are expected to keep enough of the seeds produced to cover the same area the next year. FAO encourages farmers to exchange surplus improved seeds with neighbours and relatives. The humanitarian situation in Afghanistan as a whole is in a sharp downwards spiral that will continue until at least next summer. Since summer 2000, over 1 million Afghans have left their homes, including over 700,000 who are internally displaced within their country. The UN estimates that during this year the number of internally displaced Afghans will top 1 million.

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