Harsh poverty and rising unemployment have spread across Afghanistan due to prolonged conflicts and fighting in the country, as well as drought and a decline in agribusiness, added to the miseries of the war-weary Afghans.
Figures released by the UN mission in the country on Monday, said over 2,790 civilians were killed while over 5,250 others injured in conflict-related incidents in the first nine months of the year in the country.
Almost 54 per cent of the country’s population of over 30 million currently lives below the poverty line, according to the latest information provided by the Central Statistic Organisation of Afghanistan early in the year.
Afghan Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock (MAIL) Nasir Ahmad Durrani, said recently, the government plans to provide support for the neediest families.
However, he said the government alone could not fully tackle the nation’s poverty problem.
Durrani said the ministry was working on six specific issues to help with food security in the land-locked country.
“For the eradication of famine, lasting food safety and reaching Sustainable Development Goal 2 (SGD2) targets, the MAIL plans involve direct links to food safety resources, such as animal husbandry or in the area of increasing the yields of wheat, rice and other agricultural harvests.
“This is also raising the standard of fruit and vegetable products, the growth of agricultural products, supporting farmers, raising the agricultural and husbandry product quality.
`It is also raising the value of agriculture and livestock chain products, and reviewing current agricultural policy in light of climate change, are among the factors and work that has been done by the ministry.
“The ministry has distributed up to 119 tons of wheat among the needy and vulnerable people in 25 of the country’s 34 provinces,’’ he said.
Durrani said that some 60 tons of wheat has also been made available to the World Food Program (WFP) to be changed into flour, by adding some needed ingredients in cooperation with the local and international aid agencies to be distributed among 1.4 million needy people.
The latest food distribution plans come as up to 20 of the country’s 34 provinces have been affected by the drought, and Afghan officials have predicted that around 3 million people will be in need of aid until the end of the year.
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in another effort to help the needy people, that the UN has allocated 34.6 million dollars to support drought-affected Afghans.
“The fund will help seven national non-governmental organiSations (NGOs), 15 international NGOs and four UN agencies “to distribute food and seeds, maintain primary health services, provide emergency shelters, safe drinking water, improve hygiene and sanitation, treat severe malnutrition, and help farmers protect their livestock,” the OCHA said.
The Afghan unemployment rate has risen 2 per cent to 27 per cent in the last Afghan year, which ended on March 20, 2018, with the number of jobless people keeping growing while private investment continues to decline.
Afghans hope that the just-concluded parliamentary election and the following presidential election which is slated for early 2019 will bring positive changes to the living conditions of poor people.