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FAO committed to provide food amid coronavirus

Ros Cooper, Acting Director DFID waving UN flag during a tour for demonstration of seeds and farming tools provided by FAO [Photo by Sheila Ponnie]

By Sheila Ponnie

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (UNFAO) said it was still committed to provide food to the vulnerable despite coronavirus.

Coronavirus pandemic has greatly affected global food supply due to the lockdown.

Ros Cooper, Acting Director Department for International Development (DFID) said the situation in South Sudan at the moment was very hard.

She said people were copping up with the on-going food insecurity, malnutrition, threats from floods and the COVID-19 pandemic which is making everyone’s livelihood much more complicated.

“It is impressive to see the efforts that have gone in to trying making sure that people around the country can continue under this difficult time,” Ms. Cooper said.

Cooper was speaking yesterday during a tour and demonstration of seeds, farming tools and other agriculture equipment by the FAO.

Despite the movement and restrictions in response to Coronavirus (Covid-19) FAO said they were committed to delivering essential supplies to South Sudanese famers.

Meshack Malo, Country Representative, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations explained that through the contribution from the Government of the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland, FAO has been protecting the livelihoods and boosting the food security of the most vulnerable famers, fisher folk and pastoralists.

“Importantly as the staff of FAO, we have stayed behind to be able to make sure that we deliver during this main planting season, importantly the support of the tax payers of the United Kingdom that is significant in ensuring that the support reaches to the people in South Sudan even in the hard to reach areas,”Malo explained.

The Overall crop and vegetable seeds from all FAO projects and donors, total of 10,000 tons have been procured and over sixty procured seeds have already been distributed to famers according to FAO.

“We can produce up to 800,000 thousand metric tons of food this year out of the anticipated 1.3 million metric tons that are needed,” he said.

He explained that the consistence of the support by UK, FAO was able to supply seeds to the famers in South Sudan.

Challenges in terms of logistics remains, however, currently the organisation is using the Sherp all-Terrain vehicles (ATVs) that would serve to reach the population living in most hard-to-reach areas of the country that are not accessible by roads.

“These ATVs are currently meant to reduce our cost of Air drops and they are going to be taken to the greater upper Nile, this is a huge cost and to reduce this cost FAO has purchased ATVs that can reduce the cost of logistics and this can allow us to reach more farmers,” he explained.

Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations aims at supporting and building resilient agriculture-based livelihoods in South Sudan.

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