FAO: Funding for recovery lagging in Horn of Africa

by World Grain Staff
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ROME, ITALY — As world governments met Aug. 25 in Ethiopia for an international pledging conference aimed at winning more aid for the Horn of Africa, the United Nation’s Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) has warned that efforts to keep farmers and pastoralists on their feet, prevent the crisis from worsening and speed progress toward recovery are not being adequately funded.

Two emergency meetings organized by FAO in Rome on July 25 and Aug. 18 helped set the stage for the African Union pledging conference, raising international awareness of the importance of not only providing food assistance but also supporting food producers and getting food production in the Horn back up and running as soon as possible, FAO said.

But support for activities outlined in FAO’s “Road map for Recovery” — a $161 million package designed to restore livelihoods and build the resilience of populations in the face of climate and other shocks — has so far been insufficient, the UN agency said, with only $57.3 million paid up or in the pipeline to date.

High cereal prices continue in the Horn, as cereal supply is declining and will not be replenished until the year's end, assuming a favorable rainfall. Livestock conditions continue to deteriorate, and the increasing burden of accumulated debts continues to erode both urban and rural households' ability to purchase food.

The next planting season in the Horn of Africa is set to begin just weeks away, but many farmers have sold seed stock or tools to stay alive.

Similarly, November is normally a time when pastoralists market their livestock, earning money they can use to feed their families for months after. Without adequate fodder, shelter, water and vaccines, they are losing animals at alarming rates.

FAO is already delivering assistance to communities in Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia and proposes to scale up these activities by rehabilitating and constructing water points; providing vital agricultural inputs, such as drought-tolerant seeds, tools, animal feed, fodder and water for livestock; using cash for work to provide immediate relief and mitigate the rising prices of staple foods; and by improving plant and animal pest and disease surveillance and control.
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