Abuja – The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) says it will need 1.06 billion U.S. dollars to assist over 30 million people in 26 countries to improve local food production in 2018.

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode (left); Attorney General & Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Adeniji Kazeem (middle) and Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Dr. Shakirudeen Olayiwola (right) during the Governor’s inspection of the Agric-YES (Songai Model Farm) at Avia-Igborosun in Badagry, Lagos, at the weekend.

A report by FAO in Abuja on Friday appealed to donor agencies to renew their support in 2018 to the organisation so as to enable it to assist the people to fight hunger and revive agriculture-based livelihoods.

The report indicated that the assistance would come through the provision of seeds, tools and other materials for crop farming, while safeguarding livestock production through lifesaving veterinary care.

Others are organising trainings on improved crop production and processing, land and water management as well as well as provision of cash to families to enable them to have immediate access to food.

The report also said that the humanitarian appeal would focus on assisting crisis-affected and vulnerable persons in the 26 countries.

The countries include Yemen, where 5.7 million people would be reached and others are the Democratic Republic of Congo and in South Sudan, where 2.8 million people and 3.9 million people respectively would be reached.

It said that the countries would benefit from the 2018 emergency livelihood support scheme of FAO.

“The reality is that while the lives of millions of people were saved — thanks to rapid humanitarian response in 2017 — millions more remain on the very edge of starvation.

“Maintaining food production and rebuilding agriculture are fundamental to preventing loss of life from severe hunger and providing a pathway towards resilience in the midst of humanitarian crises.

“This is why FAO focuses on transforming vulnerability into resilience, so that when something bad happens, families are able to cope and feed themselves.

“With conflict and climate-related shocks sending global hunger numbers marching back up after declining for decades, FAO is asking for 1.06 billion U.S. dollars to save lives and livelihoods and address acute hunger in 26 countries,’’ the report said.

Analysing the assistance given to some countries in 2017, the report said that FAO provided seeds, equipment, fertiliser and training which empowered over six million people in Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen.

It said that 43 million animals in the countries, mainly cattle, goats and camels, received veterinary care, feeds and water, thereby allowing millions of pastoralist and livestock-dependent families to feed themselves and remain self-sufficient.

“Some two million poor, high vulnerable families benefitted from FAO cash transfers (adding up to 42 million U.S. dollars in total).

“These payments helped the people to avoid selling off household seeds, animals or other assets to buy food and helped them to resume agricultural production, especially in the crisis-affected areas,’’ the report added. (NAN)

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