Afghanistan Drought Joint Appeal (July 2006)
Afghanistan is facing an imminent food crisis due to inadequate rainfall in the months of April and May. The drought conditions will affect up to an estimated 2.5 million people living in mostly rain-fed agro-ecological zones affected by drought. This estimate is in addition to the 6.5 million people who are seasonally or chronically food insecure.
Possible impacts of the drought are numerous: households will consume their harvest much sooner than usual leading to steadily increasing malnutrition; seeds will be consumed before next year’s planting season; animals and household assets will be sold; and migration to urban centres will occur.
The total shortfall is estimated by the Ministry of Agriculture, assisted by FAO, at 1.2 million metric tonnes (MT) of cereals. Total cereal consumption need this year is estimated at 6 million tonnes, in the face of only 4.8 million tonnes of cereal production. Of this 4.8 million tonnes 3.71 million tonnes are wheat, a reduction of 13 percent from last year. Wheat is the principal cereal in Afghanistan, constituting over 80 percent of all cereals consumed. The reduction is particularly acute for rain-fed cereal production, decreasing 50% from 1.6 million tonnes to an estimated 800,000 tonnes.
While the agricultural master plan of the Government of Afghanistan includes a proposal for a Strategic Grain Reserve, this reserve is not yet operational and therefore the Government does not have any available cereals for emergency response.
Afghanistan’s average deficit (even in a good agricultural year) is between 250,000 and 500,000 MT. Commercial imports cover about 60 to 80 percent of the deficit. The rest is either targeted food assistance to 3.5 million vulnerable people through WFP’s PRRO or an uncovered deficit. This year, 90,000 MT (out of a planned need for 140,000 MT) have been pledged, of which 38,000 MT has been delivered to Afghanistan. The remaining pledges are expected to arrive in the country between August and December 2006.
WFP estimates that beyond the 3.5 million people it assists (requiring approximately 150,000 MT of mixed commodities), an average of 1.7 million people each month may need assistance until the next harvest.
The drought situation does not only affect agriculture but also basic supplies of drinking water. This appeal includes the distribution of emergency supplies of potable water and the construction of strategic water points to counter serious drinking-water shortages in certain locations. This will also help in mitigating potential health risks to the under-fives, malnourished children and lactating women in the drought affected population.
Priority needs under this appeal are for 67,000 MT of cereals, 14,500 MT of other commodities and up to 26,140 MT of feed concentrate. In addition, 4,500 MT of high quality autumn and spring seeds are requested with 6,750 MT of fertilizer. Support is requested for emergency water supplies, strategic water points, communicable diseases control and nutritional interventions. Furthermore, an emergency employment component forms part of the appeal to initiate cash for work programmes to rehabilitate rural infrastructure and enhance local purchasing power.
This appeal covers an initial period of six months, from July 2006 to December 2006. However, certain project proposals extend beyond this timeframe. The Emergency Response Commission of the Government will lead the drought response process, with the support of designated ministries, the United Nations and international partners. Regular monitoring of the nutritional situation and additional joint assessment missions by stakeholders (MAI, FAO, WFP, donors) will be done over the next few months to determine further needs in the first half of 2007. This is crucial, particularly after this year’s harvest has been completed, to assess the actual production, the coping mechanisms, nutritional situation and additional food and non-food requirements until the next harvest.
To adequately address the existing humanitarian needs and to limit further negative effects of a continuing drought, the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the United Nations are requesting assistance to the value of US$ 76,391,754.