Japan gives $8 million to boost food security in Yemen

Japan has contributed over $8 million to help the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation improve food security and nutrition for some 200,000 of the most vulnerable households affected by the war in Yemen, where the world’s worst humanitarian crisis in modern times is looming, the FAO has said.

The Japanese funds will go towards inputs and services in Yemen’s crucial agriculture sector, including the distribution of cereal and legumes seeds, restocking of livestock, and the rehabilitation of irrigation systems and other agricultural facilities, using “cash for work”, the FAO statement said in a statement on Thursday.

These measures will help hungry households produce life-saving food and generate income as well as stimulate local economies through rural job creation, the statement said.

“FAO is on the frontlines in the fight against hunger in Yemen, providing extremely vulnerable people with the means to resume and maintain food production for their families and their communities,” said FAO Director-General Jose Graziano da Silva.

“This generous contribution from the Government of Japan allows us to continue supporting the Yemeni people in this time of their greatest need. It will enable FAO to help save the lives and the livelihoods of the country’s most food insecure people and to put agriculture back on track to reduce their dependence on food assistance and food imports in the long run.”

Under the project, FAO also intends to focus on emergency livestock assistance and protection. Provision of animal feed and animal health services such as vaccination campaigns will ensure that products, especially milk, are available to the most vulnerable members of the poor families — especially children, pregnant women and lactating mothers.

The Japanese funding will also enable FAO to improve food production practices and strengthen communities’ ability to manage land, soil and water resources in a sustainable manner, as well as their resilience.

The current humanitarian situation in Yemen is worse than any the world has experienced in the last few decades. With the conflict now entering its fifth year, almost 16 million people in Yemen (53 per cent of the population) are experiencing severe acute hunger, FAO said.

FAO is appealing for a total $218.5 million to provide agricultural support to 8.6 million people in Yemen this year.

Japan is the second largest contributor to FAO’s regular budget, and a leading voluntary contributor to FAO’s field programmes.

IANS