FAO / AFGHANISTAN FOOD SECURITY

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To mitigate climate shocks and improve food security, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) over the last two years has supported communities in Afghanistan through cash-for-work programmes in building water management infrastructures. FAO
Description

STORY: FAO / AFGHANISTAN FOOD SECURITY
TRT: 3’:11’’
SOURCE: FAO
RESTRICTIONS: PLEASE CREDIT FAO ON SCREEN
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / PASHTO / NATS
DATELINE: 19-20 FEBRUARY 2024, KANDAHAR PROVINCE, AFGHANISTAN

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Shotlist

19 FEBRUARY 2024, DAMAN DISTRICT, KANDAHAR PROVINCE, AFGHANISTAN

1. Wide shot, dry land
2. Pan left, sheep grazing on dry land

20 FEBRUARY 2024, ZHIRAI DISTRICT, KANDAHAR PROVINCE, AFGHANISTAN

3. Wide shot, dry riverbed
4. SOUNDBITE (Pashto) Haji Obaidullah, farmer, Zhirai district, Kandahar province: “Our vineyards and pomegranate orchards dried up, and we were unable to grow corn and mung beans. Our winter crop production was reduced by half due to the drought.”
5. Tilt up, dry water canal
6. Pan right, riverbed retaining wall
7. SOUNDBITE (PASHTO) Haji Obaidullah, farmer, Zhirai district, Kandahar province: “On the other hand, when rain does fall, it is no longer, regular and timely due to climate change. Severe floods wash our agricultural land. We asked FAO for support. They agreed and constructed water-retaining walls for us. As a result, our youths benefited from cash for work and also our land is protected from floods.”
8. Tracking shot, Alexander Jones, Director of FAO’s Resource Mobilization Division (center-right) and Richard Trenchard, FAO Representative in Afghanistan, (center-left) visiting the district
9. Pan right, Alexander Jones, Director of FAO’s Resource Mobilization Division (center-right) and Richard Trenchard, FAO Representative in Afghanistan, (center-left) meeting local farmers

19 FEBRUARY 2024, DAMAN DISTRICT, KANDAHAR PROVINCE, AFGHANISTAN

10. Pan left, sign reading “Emergency livelihoods assistance to safeguard food and nutrition security and sustain local production of food among most vulnerable rural families affected by multiple shocks in Afghanistan.”
11. Med shot, check dams

20 FEBRUARY 2024, ZHIRAI DISTRICT, KANDAHAR PROVINCE, AFGHANISTAN

12. SOUNDBITE (English) Alexander Jones, Director of the FAO’s Resource Mobilization Division: “This is a major project to rehabilitate a riverbed. We have a situation, as you can see over here, where the river was cutting away important farmland and destroying a really important irrigation canal behind me there. This is an area which is normally irrigated with the irrigation canal and some additional wells that you can see in the background as well.”
13. Tracking shot, riverbed retention wall
14. Pan left, wheat fields
15. SOUNDBITE (English) Alexander Jones, Director of the FAO’s Resource Mobilization Division: “It's a project which employed over 250 men and 30 women over a three-month period to build 1200 meters of retaining wall that you can see here to control the riverbed floods during the peak rainy season.”

19 FEBRUARY 2024, DAMAN DISTRICT, KANDAHAR PROVINCE, AFGHANISTAN

16. Tracking shot, check dam
17. Tilt up, wheat fields
18. Wide shot, Alexander Jones, Director of FAO’s Resource Mobilization Division (center-left) and Richard Trenchard, FAO Representative in Afghanistan, (center-right) meeting local farmers
19. Med shot, Alexander Jones, Director of FAO’s Resource Mobilization Division (center) speaking
20. SOUNDBITE (English) Alexander Jones, Director of the FAO’s Resource Mobilization Division: “What's most amazing to me is their awareness of the fact that their agricultural systems need to change, to evolve, to adapt to what they're facing, climate change. Then they want to move into horticultural crops. They realize that farming systems must evolve. But for us, as FAO the most precious part here is the fact that they already know what these challenges are and we can support them. We can help them with so many ways.”
21. Alexander Jones, Director of FAO’s Resource Mobilization Division (center-left) and Richard Trenchard, FAO Representative in Afghanistan, (center-right) meeting pastoralists
22. Med shot, sheep grazing
23. Pan left, sheep grazing
24. Wide shot, man walking on a check dam

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Storyline

In Afghanistan food insecurity remains alarmingly high. The adverse impact of extreme climatic conditions such as an extended drought combined with other natural hazards such as flooding and earthquakes exacerbates the population's vulnerability, with over 15 million people, or 36 percent of the population, being food insecure.

Haji Obaidullah, a farmer from Zhirai district in Kandahar, says this winter's drought has severely impacted food production.

SOUNDBITE (PASTHO) Haji Obaidullah, farmer, Zhirai district, Kandahar province:
“Our vineyards and pomegranate orchards dried up, and we were unable to grow corn and mung beans. Our winter crop production was reduced by half due to the drought.”

Nevertheless, he explains that it is the combination of droughts followed by flooding that has significantly damaged his community’s livelihoods over the last years.

SOUNDBITE (PASHTO) Haji Obaidullah, farmer, Zhirai district, Kandahar province:
“On the other hand, when rain does fall, it is no longer, regular and timely due to climate change. Severe floods wash our agricultural land. We asked FAO for support. They agreed and constructed water-retaining walls for us. As a result, our youths benefited from cash for work and also our land is protected from floods.”

Climate change impacts affect the humanitarian situation in the country, explains Alexander Jones, Director of FAO’s Resource Mobilization Division, who recently visited Afghanistan to see how FAO is helping farmers get back on their feet. Drought, water scarcity, and rapidly descending ground water levels hit farmers and pastoralists the hardest, according to Jones, who emphasized the importance of rehabilitating infrastructures in the Zhirai district.

To mitigate climate shocks and improve food security the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) over the last two years has supported communities in Afghanistan through cash-for-work programmes in building water management infrastructures including water retaining walls and more than 6000 check dams to reduce the impact of floods, replenish groundwater levels and facilitate irrigation, thus improving crop yields and providing families with reliable food sources.

SOUNDBITE (ENGLISH) Alexander Jones, Director of the FAO’s Resource Mobilization Division:
“This is a major project to rehabilitate a riverbed. We have a situation, as you can see over here, where the river was cutting away important farmland and destroying a really important irrigation canal behind me there. This is an area which is normally irrigated with the irrigation canal and some additional wells that you can see in the background as well.”

The World Bank funded construction of retaining walls through a cash-for-work programme provided the community of Zhirai with a much-needed source of income and protected agricultural land from floods.

SOUNDBITE (ENGLISH) Alexander Jones, Director of the FAO’s Resource Mobilization Division:
“It's a project which employed over 250 men and 30 women over a three-month period to build 1200 meters of retaining wall that you can see here to control the riverbed floods during the peak rainy season.”

Traditionally, men perform all public works in Afghanistan. However, FAO convinced the community to let women be trained to weave gabion meshes in their homes, thus extending employment benefits to the most needy women-led households in the area.

In the last year, FAO supported farmers with concrete actions by providing high-quality wheat seeds, livestock assistance and cash transfers. This has helped improve agricultural productivity and food security in the country.

The UN Food and Agriculture Organization is currently working closely with rural communities to better understand the kind of support they need, says Alexander Jones after a meeting with members of the Daman community in Kandahar province.

SOUNDBITE (ENGLISH) Alexander Jones, Director of the FAO’s Resource Mobilization Division:
“What's most amazing to me is their awareness of the fact that their agricultural systems need to change, to evolve, to adapt to what they're facing, climate change. Then they want to move into horticultural crops. They realize that farming systems must evolve. But for us, as FAO the most precious part here is the fact that they already know what these challenges are and we can support them. We can help them with so many ways.”

The Director of the FAO’s Resource Mobilization Division stressed that investing in anticipatory action is crucial to increasing rural communities' resilience in the face of stresses.

Afghanistan is the FAO's single largest country programme, where it continues to operate despite ongoing political instability. The Organization has over 400 employees on the ground and is present in all 34 provinces in the country.

FAO's work with other partners in the country has made it possible to reach over 10 million farmers in 2023, ultimately contributing to the gradual reduction in food insecurity numbers. These interventions play a vital role since 80 percent of the country’s population earn income from agriculture.

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26304
Production Date
Creator
FAO
Alternate Title
unifeed240403c
Subject Topical
Geographic Subject
MAMS Id
3192542
Parent Id
3192542