Crop failure compounds drought crisis in Afghanistan

August 11, 2011AFGHANISTAN – Ongoing drought in northern, northeastern and western Afghanistan is likely to push 1.5-2 million more people into food insecurity this autumn, according to the UN World Food Program (WFP).   This is in addition to the seven million country-wide already facing food shortages. The Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock (MAIL) is reporting a failure of the rain-fed wheat crop, which accounts for about 55 percent of the total domestic wheat yield. Irrigated wheat, which tends to yield more per hectare, has also been affected by the drought. The average wheat yield (without fertilizers) on irrigated land is about 2.7 tons per hectare (3.5 tons with fertilizer), versus only 1.1 tons on rain-fed land, according to MAIL. In a normal year Afghanistan produces 4.5 million tons of wheat and around one million tons are imported. The shortfall of 1.9 million tons of wheat this year means more will either have to be imported or secured from other sources. “Satellite derived rainfall estimates indicate that most of Afghanistan had an untimely and inadequate rain and snow season this year. As a result, there will be heavy losses in rain-fed wheat crops, underperforming irrigated wheat crops, poor pasture conditions, and low income earning opportunities in northern Afghanistan and the central highlands this year,” said the US Agency for International Development’s FEWSNET. Increased need due to the drought comes as WFP is already facing a severe funding shortage for its existing programs in Afghanistan. “WFP had originally planned to feed more than seven million Afghans this year, but currently has the resources to reach less than four million,” WFP spokesman Assadullah Azhari told IRIN in Kabul. He said additional funds would be required to cover the new drought-related needs. President Hamid Karzai also expressed concern about the drought at a cabinet meeting on 30 July: “The current drought in certain provinces is hugely damaging to the life of people and their livestock.”  –IWO
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4 Responses to Crop failure compounds drought crisis in Afghanistan

  1. Luca says:

    Drought is everywhere. Praying for them all.


  2. idiotbox says:

    The opium crop must not be meeting US demand otherwise I doubt there would be mention of this.


  3. Megan says:

    I saw Hillary Clinton say the US was going to give 4.5 million in relief on the news tonight. I don’t like her policies usually, but on this one I thought she was right on. The interviewer asked her why we should help in our time of crisis, and she said that if you just looked at their pictures you would understand why it was the right thing to do, and that that was part of our nation’s heritage was to be benevolent to those in dire need.


  4. Mike Swayze says:

    Food destruction was what the opium dealers used to get control of the farmers in the first place. It is at this point it is a question of who tries to control the opium trade. A drought is not just nature caused – there are a half dozen ‘water’ projects that the afghan ‘government’ has failed to complete. Isn’t Karzai’s brothernlaw or cousin one of the main druglords?
    SOS irregardless of what any outsider would try to do.


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