Joint Emergency Appeal for Afghanistan 2008
Afghanistan was amongst the first countries in the world to recognise the impact of the dramatic rise in global food prices during 2007, and towards the end of the year the Government of Afghanistan (GoA) and the UN began working together to alleviate the worst impacts of the high price of staples, particularly wheat flour, on the most vulnerable. This resulted in the launch in January 2008 of the Afghanistan Joint Appeal for the Humanitarian Consequences of the Rise in Food Prices, to provide a safety net for 425,000 most vulnerable households (2.6 million people), placed at risk of food insecurity over the remaining months of the winter and the first half of 2008. This appeal succeeded in bringing in 87,100 MT of food, all of which will be distributed by the end of August.
It had been hoped that food prices in Afghanistan would return to their previous levels but this did not happen, as neighbouring countries closed their borders or restricted exports, and as speculation and hoarding were prompted by fears of a poor domestic harvest. The results of the Agriculture Prospects Survey in April indicate that wheat production will be 36% less than in 2007, when the country was able to produce over 90% of its own food. This year it is forecast to produce only about two-thirds, and about 2 million MT of grainwill have to be imported. Domestic production levels fluctuate dramatically from year to year and the market does normally make up the shortfall, but at the household level many rural farming families will experience a very poor harvest this year, meaning that they will not have enough income with which to buy the food that is available on the market.
The priority needs are to assure the food security of approximately 450,000 urban and rural households no longer able to purchase sufficient food; to support approximately 300,000 farming families rendered more food insecure by the drought and poor harvest; to reduce malnutrition in 550,000 women and children under five at serious risk; to provide safe drinking water and hygiene promotion in drought-affected communities; to improve disease surveillance where this is weak; to monitor and respond to protection concerns caused by drought-induced displacement; and to prevent critical drops in the food security and incomes of farming families, both those reliant on livestock production and on crops, and to support the next agriculture cycle so that productivity has the potential to recover.
This Emergency Food and Drought Appeal is a response to the crisis situation faced by the poorest people of Afghanistan, caused by the combination of persistent high food prices, a much reduced harvest, and stringent drought conditions across the country. The appeal has been prepared, launched and will be implemented jointly by the GoA, the UN and their NGO partners. Its immediate overall aim is to address the humanitarian situation related to food insecurity severely exacerbated by the food price increases, drought, and other factors that increase vulnerability. The appeal also aims to avoid a prolonged relief situation by supporting the agriculture sector through the next planting and harvest cycle.
The priority sectors covered in this emergency appeal are Food Security, Nutrition, Water Sanitation & Hygiene (WASH), Health, Agriculture, and Protection. Emergency Shelter will be required if the drought causes significant displacement but no funds are requested for this sector at this time.
The duration of the appeal is 12 months, from July 2008 to July 2009, and the total amount needed is US$ 404,319,728.