The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) welcomed a €40 million contribution from Germany to help farmers and fishers withstand threats like COVID-19 and extreme climate events.
The funding from Germany's KfW development bank will support FAO's efforts to build the resilience of resource-poor producers, pastoralists and fishers in three of the world's most food insecure countries - the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Somalia and Yemen, work undertaken in partnership with other UN agencies.
The Director-General of FAO, QU Dongyu, said: "This generous contribution from Germany, will help FAO make a difference in communities that have been severely tested by shocks and uncertainties, empowering farmers to cope with future challenges and building better lives for themselves and their families."
Guenther Braeunig, CEO of KfW Group, commented: "In light of violent conflicts, natural disasters and the COVID-19 pandemic, we are proud to deepen our cooperation with FAO in these three countries, in collaboration with other UN partners. These programmes aim at sustainably strengthening the resilience of the most vulnerable, as well as that of local structures. Furthermore they seek to tackle food insecurity and mitigate the adverse effects of the COVID-19 pandemic."
In recent years, a combination of factors has driven up acute hunger across the globe to alarming levels. According to the last edition of the Global Report on Food Crises, even before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, more than 135 million people were already in acute food insecurity in 55 countries in 2019 as conflict, climate stresses, natural disasters and economic upheaval took a heavy toll.
With the threats that affect the world's most vulnerable small-scale farmers continuing to intensify, the need to boost rural resilience is more urgent than ever.
The Democratic Republic of the Congo, Somalia and Yemen have been particularly hard-hit by conflict, hunger and poverty. COVID-19 has further undermined the economic prospects of smallholder farmers and other producers who are too often forced to abandon their land in the face of challenges, thereby depriving their families and their communities of the food they produce.
Responding to crises and building resilience
Germany's contribution, made available through the country's KfW Development Bank, supports a range of development-oriented activities to help people in the three target countries boost their capacity to weather external shocks.
In Democratic Republic of the Congo, the funding will be used to top up an ongoing Germany-supported resilience building programme jointly implemented by FAO with the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) in the east of the country.
Under that programme, the three agencies are assisting over 30,000 smallholder farming families comprised of 180 000 people, in North Kivu and South Kivu, poor rural areas where conflict, displacement and chronic vulnerability are rife.
Support includes helping them boost agricultural production, reduce post-harvest losses, and create new income streams by diversifying their activities, as well as nutrition interventions. Germany's latest contribution also aims to address the additional strains that COVID-19 has brought to bear on farmers.
In Somalia the funding will be allocated to support FAO resilience interventions targeting almost 150 000 people in a bid to enhance production from irrigated and rainfed agriculture in various ways. FAO will also map out new options for productive diversification and help communities establish cooperatives and village savings-and-loans so they can take advantage of new economic opportunities. This work too is part of a joined-up, larger program involving UNICEF and WFP.
In Yemen, Germany is contributing to a new project designed to build economic recovery, peace and resilience. Around 94 000 people are expected to benefit from the project, carried out in partnership with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), which aims to boost agricultural production and resilience to water scarcity.
Key focus areas will include the repairing and upscaling of water infrastructure to address water infrastructure damage, improving disaster risk reduction and sustainable water management, as well as conflict prevention and reconciliation around water related disputes.