Nepal Earthquake’s impact on food security likely very high
The impact of the recent major earthquake on food security and agricultural livelihoods is expected to be very high.
Farmers who miss the planting season that is expected to start late May onwards will be unable to harvest rice – the country’s staple food – again until late 2016. This, together with likely losses of food stocks and wheat and maize harvests, would severely limit food supplies and incomes in the South Asian country, where around two-thirds of people rely on agriculture for their livelihood, FAO said.
Million of people across the country’s Western and Central Regions are affected by the disaster, including its largest cities, Kathmandu and Pokhara.
But some of the country’s most vulnerable agricultural areas, particularly the villages in mountain and hilly regions, also bore the brunt.
Although damage to the agriculture sector has not yet been assessed, affected families have likely lost livestock, crops, food stocks and valuable agricultural inputs. At the same time, the disaster has destroyed markets and infrastructure, including roads and crucial irrigation and drainage canals. As a result, internal trade, including the movement of emergency assistance, is severely constrained.
In addition to distributing crop-production packages to secure this year’s harvest, FAO and partners will support the Nepalese government in preventing further loss of livestock by providing animal feed and veterinary supplies that will ensure animals stay healthy and productive for families relying on them for food and income.
In all, FAO will support 20.000 of the most vulnerable farming households protect and rebuild their livelihoods. Timely agricultural interventions are essential to increase the resilience of affected farming families and greatly reduce the time and cost of recovery.
UN agencies and partners launched a $415 million emergency appeal for Nepal to address the most urgent needs. FAO’s appeal is part of a larger $128-million request under the Food Security Cluster, led by FAO and the World Food Programme. In addition to emergency agriculture support, the cluster aims to distribute 50.000 tonnes of food to families in need, along with setting up cash-transfer programmes and helping communities rebuild.