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FAO urges G20 countries to increase support for rural farmers

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“Supporting local agri-food production and safeguarding rural livelihoods must be a priority,” the Director-General said at the Meeting of the Ministers for Foreign Affairs of the G20 Countries, including Spain as permanent guest, the Netherlands and Singapore as guests, and Qatar.

The virtual meeting was held in view of an extraordinary G20 summit on Afghanistan announced by Mario Draghi, Prime Minister of Italy holder of the G20 presidency. United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres, and the head of the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Human Affairs (OCHA), Martin Griffiths, also spoke at the event, alongside representatives of other multilateral institutions.

Qu emphasized the need to urgently support Afghanistan’s farmers to have access to agricultural inputs for the winter wheat season, a mainstay for food security and livelihoods and source of more than half of the average daily calorie intake in the country.

“Failure to step up and speed up efforts immediately to support and salvage rural agricultural livelihoods will lead to enormous increases in hunger and malnutrition, massive displacement and vast increases in acute humanitarian situations going into the winter season,” he said.

“Agriculture provides livelihoods, either directly or indirectly, to nearly 80 percent of the Afghan population,” the Director-General said. “Agriculture can and must play a central role in addressing the root causes of repeated humanitarian crises.”

He pointed to FAO’s long history of working in Afghanistan’s rural communities and called for the G20 to rapidly release resources to prevent a worsening humanitarian crisis, advocate for safe and sustained access to the most vulnerable, and contribute to rebuilding an economically prosperous agri-food system.

“The window of opportunity to assist Afghan farmers before winter is very narrow,” QU said. “FAO stands with the farmers of Afghanistan. We count on the G20 to stand with FAO.”

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