FAO director: Agriculture can save lives
Agriculture can play a vital role in improving livelihood of vulnerable people experiencing crisis, including small-scale farmers, said Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations director-general, José Graziano da Silva in a publication.
Da Silva said that agricultural workers are among the group of people who are at a high risk of experiencing further crisis, due to weather events, animal diseases and wars that causes them to abandon fields and live stocks. Correspondingly, agriculture can also be the key to mend livelihood for these vulnerable people.
“The role of the agriculture sector in crises is too often overlooked and the necessary investments are not made.” da Silva remarked.
The agricultural sector shoulders about 22% of losses and damages brought by natural disasters, but only gets about 4% of the total humanitarian aid. “This provides a stark measure of the widening chasm between needs and the magnitude of response.” De Silva commented.
He said that addressing the root of the problem and alleviating future damages are important. He stated that it is 4-7 times more efficient to invest in risk reduction efforts, than to simply rely on emergency response. However, less than 1% of the Official Development Assistance is allocated on disaster-risk reduction.
He added, “More generally, we see how investment in agriculture helps strengthen the self-reliance and dignity of vulnerable rural communities, reducing the need for food assistance.” FAO claimed that a $200 funding allows a Syrian farmer to produce two tons of wheat, enough to feed a family of six for a year and provide seeds for future planting.
“Protecting, saving and rebuilding agricultural livelihoods to save lives and create the conditions for longer-term resilience is a key step toward ensuring peace and stability” said Da Silva.