Thursday, January 20, 2011

Food Aid Strategy To Feed Millions In Afghanistan

Over the last couple of months, the Government of Afghanistan has been working with the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) to develop a comprehensive plan for providing food aid to millions of Afghans who are suffering from severe hunger and food security problems. A committee consisting of WFP representives and Afghan government officials have been meeting in Kabul, where various technical working groups have been created to systematize colletive approaches to crucial food and hunger related issues. Some of the subjects include agricultural development, education, health, nutrition, economic development, and vocational skills training. The committee is focusing on planning and policy, and is acting as a way for the WFP to support the Afghan Government's food aid policies. The meetings in Kabul have proven to be very beneficial. A strategy intent on helping upwards of 7.3 million vulnerable Afghans each year, the "Protracted Relief and Recovery Operation," has been coordinated successfully, with plans on an effective implementation policy still being worked out. Officials from the WFP and Afghan Government have continually stressed how serious both parties are on improving food security and hunger problems in the country.

Another positive byproduct of these coordination efforts is an agreement last month for the WFP to buy a large quantity of wheat directly from Afghan farmers that will help feed 500,000 people for three months, which represents the largest local purchase ever by the agency. Agreements like this are designed to increase agricultural production and incomes in poor countries, as well as help cut down distribution time within countries.

- Brock McNairy