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reliefweb - 29 days ago

Afghanistan Revised humanitarian response Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) May–December 2020

Country: Afghanistan Source: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations Impact of COVID-19 on food security and agriculture Afghanistan is among the most severe food crises countries worldwide. It was reported as the third worst food crisis-country in the 2020 edition of the Global Report on Food Crises. Further exacerbating the food insecurity situation is the rapid spread of COVID-19 since April, with a reported test-positivity-rate (positive tests as a percentage of total tests) of more than 44 percent. A recent Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) analysis, together with a survey conducted by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in collaboration with Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock (MAIL), indicate the status of the impact of COVID-19-related movement restrictions on food security and the agricultural sector. IPC analysis confirms major COVID-19 impact. Compared with the previous analysis for the period of August October 2019, the latest IPC report (May 2020) indicates that the total number of people projected to be in emergency phase has increased from 2.4 to 3.3 million, representing an increase of nearly 1 million. The provinces of Badakhshan and Daykundi along with Herat and Kandahar city centres have been particularly hard-hit and are classified as being in an emergency state of food insecurity (IPC Phase 4). Loss of income due to movement restrictions has resulted in the rise in urban food insecurity, especially among daily wage earners, small businesses and populations dependent on remittances. The FAO/MAIL survey shows limited harvesting impact, but significant processing impact. The analysis indicates that despite the substantial logistical disruptions due to COVID-19, harvesting of wheat, fruits and vegetables have been so far limited. However, more than 50 percent of millers and processing units relating to cereals (50 percent), fruits (57 percent), vegetables (70 percent), and dairy (97 percent) were reported to be highly impacted and operating at reduced capacity or closed. Serious livestock sector impacts. Poultry and livestock farmers across all provinces reported significant challenges in managing their poultry and livestock-based livelihoods citing reasons that relate to structural deficits now exacerbated by COVID-19, including lack of access to day-old chicks/pullets, feed, inputs and resources, markets and veterinary services. The nomadic Kuchis have also been severely impacted due to restrictions of access to pasture, lack of adequate fodder/feed and increased prices of the same, coupled with diminished access to assured veterinary services. Close to one- third of the surveyed Kuchis reported that their transhumance was either blocked or limited resulting in some localized tensions. More than one-third of the surveyed Kuchis reported adoption of/intent to adopt negative coping mechanisms to save their livestock. Major marketing challenges. More than one-third of farmers reported challenges in selling produce (dairy, fruits, vegetables, honey) due to market closures. A significant number of small-scale, provincial and national traders also reported restrictions in procuring fresh agricultural produce and difficulties in transporting produce to local markets due to increased transportation costs and road closures linked to COVID-19 containment measures. Across all provinces, just over half of the total markets were reported as functioning as usual. Around 40 percent of wholesale vegetable markets appeared to have been affected adversely, while just about half of the total street vendors were functioning as usual. Food exports seriously affected. More than one- third of large traders reported disruptions in exporting agricultural products due to border blockages, coupled with government regulations and reduced volume/demand at the export destinations. A number of challenges ranging from limited transportation facilities to slower processing of export permits and requisite certifications coupled with lack of storage and transportation facilities were reported. The lack of storage facilities means that fresh produce cannot be conserved for export. Price increases limit access to food. The great majority of traders reported increased prices for wheat, fresh food and transportation compared with 2019, while almost all the livestock traders across all provinces reported an increase in price of sheep/goat (by 25 percent) and cattle (by 26 percent) as compared with the same time last year.


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