Russia launched its first FAO emergency project
Russia engaged in its first FAO emergency project by donating $3 million to help FAO provide conflict-affected farmers and herders in Syria with critical livelihood and nutrition support.
The project is targeting 60,000 vulnerable households (or 360 000 farmers and herders) in the area of Aleppo, who were severely impacted by the crisis, to restore their production capacity and improve their food security and nutrition. "Large numbers of farmers have abandoned their lands in Syria because of insecurity, which has taken a devastating toll on their agricultural production and destroyed infrastructure and services. The costly and reduced availability of agricultural inputs greatly constrains local farmers. Thus, our priority is to boost the local economy and contribute to reducing local poverty and improving the nutrition of those most in need," said Daniel Gustafson, FAO Deputy Director-General for Programmes.
The two-year project will primarily focus on reviving the local economy, reducing poverty and improving nutrition for targeted groups. This will be achieved by assisting the most vulnerable households in boosting their vegetable crop, fruit and forest production and restoring irrigation infrastructure. It also entails providing access to veterinary services to prevent the outbreak and spread of contagious animal diseases and to improve livestock health, production and productivity.
Enhancing livestock production is one of the key elements of the project since the livestock sector has suffered substantially since 2011 with reductions in terms of herd and flock numbers of over 30% for cattle and over 40% for sheep and goats, while poultry - the main and most affordable source of protein of animal origin - has shrunk by 60%.
According to a recent UN assessment, 6.5 million Syrians are currently suffering from acute food insecurity while another 4 million people are at risk of food insecurity.
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