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FAO Appreciates Germany's €25 Mn Contribution to Support Food Access & Rural Livelihoods in Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia & Sudan

FAO welcomed the German government's €25 million contribution to provide access to food and other basic goods and services, as well as to protect and restore productive livelihoods in drought-affected communities in Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, and Sudan.

Shivam Dwivedi
Some African region are facing its third catastrophic La Nina-induced drought
Some African region are facing its third catastrophic La Nina-induced drought

An extended, multi-season drought is causing acute food insecurity across Eastern Africa, with more than 22 million people in southern Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia in need of urgent humanitarian food assistance (IPC Phase 3 or above) by March 2023, as crops fail, animals die, and populations are displaced across the region.

This statistic comprises 2.6 million people in Kenya and Somalia in Emergency (IPC Phase 4) and about 96 000 persons in Catastrophe (IPC Phase 5) in Somalia. A mixture of violence and insecurity, dry spells leading to crop production failure in the 2021/2022 agricultural season, skyrocketing food and agricultural input prices, and climate extremes are all contributing to the country's food security situation deteriorating. Up to 11.7 million people are expected to be suffering from food insecurity (IPC Phase 3 or worse), with 3.1 million in Emergency situations (IPC Phase 4).

The outlook for this year remains grim, with growing concerns about rainfall performance across the Horn of Africa during the March to May 2023 rainy season. Regardless of how the upcoming rainy season performs, recovery from a drought of this severity will take years, and humanitarian assistance requirements are likely to be extremely high through 2023. The region is facing its third catastrophic La Nina-induced drought spell in a decade and is on the approach of disaster if humanitarian assistance is not scaled up and sustained immediately.

Drought, high food costs, and limited access to water, sanitation, and health services are worsening the situation in a region already plagued by high levels of food insecurity. The increased investment will make a significant contribution to minimizing the effects of drought on food security and livelihoods by enhancing immediate food access in rural areas, protecting and rebuilding livelihoods, and promoting self-sufficiency quickly.

The intervention aims to reach nearly 1 million of the most disadvantaged people in inaccessible and difficult-to-reach rural locations, affecting all affected livelihoods. "We are grateful to the German government for this significant donation to FAO's drought response in Eastern Africa at such a critical time," said Rein Paulsen, FAO's Director of Emergencies and Resilience. "The current circumstance highlights the critical importance of agriculture in establishing a sustainable future for the people of the region."

FAO will provide unconditional cash transfers to food insecure rural households through its cash+ programmes, allowing them to pay basic costs such as food, health, and education. The cash package's plus component aims to protect livelihoods and enable self-sufficiency in food production and nutrition by distributing agriculture assistance packages for farmers that include seeds, tools, subsidized services, and fertilizers, as well as animal feed and water transport assistance for pastoralists.

Ethiopia will receive €7 million, Kenya will receive €6.5 million, Somalia will receive €7.5 million, and Sudan will receive €4 million. It is critical to reach rural populations as soon as possible with prompt and continuous aid in order to save lives, protect livelihoods, and, ultimately, prevent mass relocation. Livelihoods are the best line of defense for rural people against hunger and malnutrition, and emergency livelihood interventions are both cost-efficient and effective.

Saving a livelihood is three to seven times less expensive than restoring it after it has been lost. It is ten times less expensive to save a goat with veterinary care (40 cents) than to purchase one ($40). Every dollar spent to support rural livelihoods saves around $10 in food-related aid. FAO is assisting farmers in Eastern Africa not just to respond to the effects of climate change, but also to proactively adapt to the repercussions of the climate crisis, particularly recurrent droughts, by implementing climate-smart farming techniques.

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