Critical livelihoods support to prevent famine

A farmer in Jalalabad works on his wheat field cultivated with certified wheat seeds provided by FAO. Photo: FAO

Afghanistan | 2023 | CERF

Afghanistan, Badakhshan province. Sharif, a 68-year-old farmer in Lowani village, says the last few years have been particularly difficult. Climate change has led to an increase in drought and floods, making it hard to keep the farm going. He supports his family of ten on just half a hectare of land, with the hope of growing enough to eat and sell.

Of the 80 million people facing acute food insecurity in Afghanistan, about 80 per cent live in rural areas.

In response to the very fragile food security and nutrition situation, CERF allocated $18 million from its Rapid Response window to support food security and nutrition response. The allocation focused on rural areas that were expected to face severe food insecurity – meaning IPC level 4 or above.

From the $18 million allocation, FAO received $7 million to provide people in the worst-affected areas with improved ‘higher yield’ seeds and fertilizer, animal feed, and livestock better suited to the harsh climate.

Sharif has been able to get improved varieties of wheat, as well as special fertilizer. This wheat is more resistant than other varieties to Badakhshan’s harsh climate – which has worsened due to climate change. Sharif also joined a training course on how to grow the new wheat. He is now growing enough for his family to make bread, with plenty left over to sell.  

The FAO programme also improved water irrigation systems in rural areas, including repairs to an important canal that had been damaged. The project employed local builders, which also supported the local economy.

Adapted from an original story from FAO. For more information on this CERF allocation, and the CERF Data Hub.