UN / AFGHANISTAN AGRICULTURE SUPPORT

14-Sep-2021 00:03:03
“The clock is very much ticking,” for Afghan farmers to start planting wheat, a crop “simply indispensable in food security terms,” the FAO’s Emergencies and Resilience Director Rein Paulsen said on Tuesday, urging support for the Afghanistan’s agriculture sector. UNIFEED
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STORY: UN / AFGHANISTAN AGRICULTURE SUPPORT
TRT: 3:03
SOURCE: UNIFEED
RESTRICTIONS: NONE
LANGUAGES: ENGLISH /NATS

DATELINE: 14 SEPTEMBER 2021, NEEW YORK CITY
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1. Exterior shot, UN Headquarters

14 SEPTEMBER 2021, NEEW YORK CITY

2. Wide shot, press room with Paulsen on screen
3. SOUNDBITE (English) Rein Paulsen, Director of FAO’s Office of Emergencies and Resilience:
“Our focus is very much on shoring up livelihoods and support to local food production. And the reason why we're concentrating on this area is because the importance of agriculture, to the lives of rural populations in Afghanistan simply cannot be overstated. Agriculture is indispensable in keeping the people of Afghanistan fed, keeping them alive, and keeping them self-reliant.”
4. Wide shot, press room with Paulsen on screen
5. SOUNDBITE (English) Rein Paulsen, Director of FAO’s Office of Emergencies and Resilience:
“Millions of rural Afghans depend on agriculture for food and an income. Agriculture represents more than a quarter - just over 25 percent of the GDP of the country. It directly employs some 45 percent of the workforce of the country and perhaps most importantly, provides livelihood benefits for fully 80 percent of the Afghan population. So, I mean those numbers alone tell you just how indispensable agriculture is in the context of Afghanistan and why FAO is concentrating on this.”
6. Wide shot, press room with Paulsen on screen
7. SOUNDBITE (English) Rein Paulsen, Director of FAO’s Office of Emergencies and Resilience:
“More than half of Afghans’ daily calorific intake comes from wheat. This crop is simply indispensable in food security terms. Most of the wheat grown in the country is sourced from rain-fed agriculture, the rain-fed winter season. So, the clock is very much ticking in this regard. I mentioned the end of September as being a key starting point for planting. FAO in that regard has already mobilized significant support. We have resources in place to support an extra one and a quarter million Afghans for this winter season but much more is needed.”
8. Wide shot, press room with Paulsen on screen
9. SOUNDBITE (English) Rein Paulsen, Director of FAO’s Office of Emergencies and Resilience:
“I wanted to say that FAO’s package in responding to winter wheat is compelling in terms of the investment that it represents and the transformational nature as it represents. Our package of wheat and fertilizer and support costs USD 150 That's it. For USD 150, a family of seven Afghans will produce 1.2 million tons of wheat. I mean these are a lot of numbers, but just to say they'll produce enough wheat to give them cereal and flour for an entire 12-month period.”
10. Wide shot, press room with Paulsen on screen
11. SOUNDBITE (English) Rein Paulsen, Director of FAO’s Office of Emergencies and Resilience:
“Those are resources that are going to support wheat packages for this winter season, support concentrate animal feed, and vet support for herders and livestock-owning families, some support for rice horticulture and vegetable growers. And I should say the cash assistance is a key component for us - the most vulnerable families don't necessarily have access to land.”
12. Wide shot, press room with Paulsen on screen
STORYLINE
“The clock is very much ticking,” for Afghan farmers to start planting wheat, a crop “simply indispensable in food security terms,” the FAO’s Emergencies and Resilience Director Rein Paulsen said on Tuesday (14 Sep), urging support for the Afghanistan’s agriculture sector.

“We have resources in place to support an extra one and a quarter million Afghans for this winter season but much more is needed,” the Food and Agriculture Organization’s Emergencies and Resilience Director said in his briefing to reporters in New York via videolink from Kabul.

Paulsen said FAO’s focus in Afghanistan “is very much on shoring up livelihoods and support to local food production. And the reason why we're concentrating on this area is because the importance of agriculture, to the lives of rural populations in Afghanistan simply cannot be overstated. Agriculture is indispensable in keeping the people of Afghanistan fed, keeping them alive, and keeping them self-reliant.”

“Millions of rural Afghans depend on agriculture for food and an income,” Paulsen said.

Agriculture represents just over 25 percent of the GDP of the country and it directly employs some 45 percent of the workforce in Afghanistan, while it also provides livelihood benefits for some 80 percent of the Afghan population, according to FAO.

“More than half of Afghans’ daily calorific intake comes from wheat,” and the most of it is grown during the fast-approaching winter season, explained Paulsen.

“FAO’s package in responding to winter wheat is compelling in terms of the investment that it represents and the transformational nature as it represents,” FAO’s Paulsen said. “Our package of wheat and fertilizer and support costs USD 150 That's it. For USD 150, a family of seven Afghans will produce 1.2 million tons of wheat. I mean these are a lot of numbers, but just to say they'll produce enough wheat to give them cereal and flour for an entire 12-month period,” he said.

On Monday (13 Sep) the FAO has launched a USD 36 million appeal to speed up its support to Afghan farmers and ensure they will not miss the upcoming winter wheat planting season, and to assist the agriculture-based livelihoods of 3.5 million vulnerable Afghans until the end of the year.

“Those are resources that are going to support wheat packages for this winter season, support concentrate animal feed, and vet support for herders and livestock-owning families, some support for rice horticulture and vegetable growers. And I should say the cash assistance is a key component for us - the most vulnerable families don't necessarily have access to land,” said Paulsen.

Despite the current political turmoil, FAO has been able to continue operations in 28 out of the 31 provinces where it operates and aims to provide support to more than one million people in farming and livestock-owning families during the coming weeks.

The agency has already provided livelihood and cash assistance to over 1.9 million people so far this year.
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