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FAO distributes seed potatoes to vulnerable rural families in Ukraine

Working to safeguard the food security and livelihoods of vulnerable rural families in Ukraine, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has distributed seed potato kits to 17 740 households from across ten of the country’s oblasts so they can plant food in time for the next harvesting season.

Some 46 000 people stand to benefit from the campaign which receives financial support from the European Union (EU) and the Central Emergency Response (CERF), the FAO says in a press release.

“It’s absolutely crucial right now to help farmers. The big ones but also the small ones, and those families involved in backyard farming,” said Pierre Vauthier, FAO Ukraine Designated Responsible Officer. “Agriculture is one of Ukraine’s major sectors and is important for the country’s food security. It is also a key source of income for the 12.6 million people who live in rural areas, who make up almost a third of the country’s population.”

In total, 862 tonnes of seed potatoes have been delivered to those in need over the last weeks. Distribution was achieved in time for the spring potato sowing campaign to ensure that this nutritious food source can be harvested in September.

Each family or household – consisting on average of 2.6 people – receives a kit with 50 kilograms of seed potatoes with an expected yield of about 600 kilograms of potatoes. These may be stored for many months for later consumption, used for the following planting seasons or sold to local markets.

At each location, FAO has been working closely with local authorities and implementing partners, who assisted in the selection of beneficiaries, distribution, monitoring and engagement with communities.

“Some companies closed, reduced staff or fired people. We cannot provide work to the local population. And we have to think about how to feed people this winter,” said Genadii Lebid, Head of Verkhniodniprovska Amalgamated Territorial Community, who noted that because of the disruptions and uncertainty caused by the conflict people are very eager to plant their gardens and have some food for their families.

FAO’s work in Ukraine

FAO has been operating in Ukraine since 2003 and following the start of the war, the Organization has developed and updated its Rapid Response Plan (RRP) to provide agricultural assistance and ensure food security to those most affected by the conflict.

FAO’s response includes providing crop and livestock inputs along with cash to support the most affected smallholder farmers and livestock holders to meet seasonal deadlines. This support will enable households to produce vegetables, cereal crops, milk, meat and eggs to feed themselves.

Further contributions are urgently needed to reach more people to maintain the spring cropping season and support the harvest preparation.

More information on data, analyses, policy recommendations, and FAO’s actions on the ground can be found here.

Source: FAO. Full press release here
Photo: Seed potato distribution in Dnipropetrovska. Credit Oleksandr Mliekov | FAO

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