The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) recently distributed seed potato kits to 17,740 households across ten of Ukraine’s oblasts.
With this distribution, the FAO aims for the households to plant food in time for the next harvesting season, working to safeguard the food security and livelihoods of vulnerable rural families in Ukraine.
A total of 862 tonnes of seed potatoes has been delivered to those in need over the last weeks and the distribution was achieved in time for the spring potato sowing campaign to ensure that this nutritious food source can be harvested in September, according to FAO. ‘Each family or household – consisting on average of 2.6 people – receives a kit with 50 kilograms of seed potatoes with an expected yield of about 600 kilograms of potatoes. These may be stored for many months for later consumption, used for the following planting seasons or sold to local markets’, a statement reads.
The organization states that some 46,000 people stand to benefit from this campaign, which receives financial support from the European Union (EU) and the Central Emergency Response (CERF). ‘It is absolutely crucial right now to help farmers. The big ones but also the small ones, and those families involved in backyard farming’, said FAO Ukraine’s Designated Responsible Officer Pierre Vauthier. ‘Agriculture is one of Ukraine’s major sectors and is important for the country’s food security. It is also a key source of income for the 12.6 million people who live in rural areas, who make up almost a third of the country’s population’, he added.
‘Some companies closed, reduced staff or fired people. We cannot provide work to the local population. And we have to think about how to feed people this winter,’ said Genadii Lebid, Head of Verkhniodniprovska Amalgamated Territorial Community. He noted that, because of the disruptions and uncertainty caused by the conflict, people are very eager to plant their gardens and have some food for their families.
FAO has been operating in Ukraine since 2003 and following the start of the war, the Organization has developed and updated its Rapid Response Plan (RRP) to provide agricultural assistance and ensure food security to those most affected by the conflict. FAO’s response includes providing crop and livestock inputs along with cash to support the most affected smallholder farmers and livestock holders to meet seasonal deadlines. With this support the organization aims to enable households to produce vegetables, cereal crops, milk, meat and eggs to feed themselves.
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