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Europe donates millions to Yemen to boost food production

Post a commentBy RJ Whitehead , 11-Jan-2017

© iStock
© iStock

The European Union has committed €12m (US$12.7m) in support of efforts to tackle rising hunger among the 14m food-insecure residents of strife-torn Yemen.

The funds will be used to provide a better understanding of the magnitude of the current situation and help avert a deepening crisis, while providing immediate agricultural support to more than 150,000 people to help them rapidly improve food production and nutrition.

Agriculture plays a critical role in food security in the arid southernmost portion of the Arabian peninsula. This is especially true for those living in rural areas of Yemen, where insecurity and isolation mean food and other forms of humanitarian assistance are intermittent.

"This is one of the world's worst humanitarian crises. People's access to food is rapidly worsening and urgent action is needed," said Salah Hajj Hassan, of the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations, which will co-ordinate the EU aid money.

"The EU's contribution will greatly strengthen our ability to collect critical data on food security so that swift action can be taken to avert a further deterioration in the situation. It will also boost efforts to build the resilience of farmers and herders, especially women, by helping them to increase the value of their agricultural production," he added.

The project will support activities such as backyard poultry rearing, dairy production, and beekeeping to generate income for farmers as well as food. Beneficiaries will also be taught to improve their farming techniques, and learn about food processing, packaging and marketing.

Farming communities will also be taught about efficient irrigation systems to mitigate against the risks of water scarcity, drought and climate changes. The installation of solar pumps will ensure the provision of power to supply water for farming households suffering acute fuel shortages.

Support to the early warning system will include enhancing the collection, analysis and management of nutrition and food security data, and translating alerts into swift response to any emerging crisis.   

FAO estimates it will need over US$48m for key emergency agricultural projects that will help more than 3m of the hungriest and most vulnerable people in Yemen under its Emergency Livelihoods Response Plan.

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