19 January 2011 The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and the Government of Afghanistan are mapping out a common strategy for providing food aid to millions of vulnerable Afghans over the next three years.
WFP’s country representative in Afghanistan, Louis Imbleau, met Vice President Abdul Karim Khalili, in Kabul yesterday, to strengthen coordination between the agency and the ministries with which it works in Afghanistan, where its current three-year Protracted Relief and Recovery Operation, launched last April, aims to help on average 7.3 million vulnerable people each year, mainly in rural areas.
“This groundbreaking meeting is a sign of how serious all parties are about the need to improve Afghanistan’s food security,” Mr. Imbleau said. “We look forward to working closely together to support Afghan efforts.”
Afghanistan’s Minister of Rural Rehabilitation and Development, Jarullah Mansoori, said it was “a privilege” that the Afghan government and WFP are working jointly to further coordinate food aid.
At the Kabul meeting, a high-level steering committee – made up of Afghan government and WFP representatives – established a number of technical working groups to coordinate common approaches to key issues, including agricultural development, education, health, nutrition and economic development including vocational skills training.
WFP’s operation in Afghanistan has a twin focus, providing lifesaving relief and emergency aid for immediate needs, including those stemming from conflict and natural disaster, and improving overall food security, in partnership with the government. The steering committee will guide implementation in terms of planning and policy and serve as a vehicle for WFP to support the government’s food assistance strategy.
Last month, WFP announced an agreement to buy enough wheat directly from farmers in Afghanistan to help feed more than 500,000 people for three months – marking the largest local purchase ever by the agency in a strategy that aims to boost agricultural production and incomes in developing countries and allow for speedier distribution than for food brought in from outside.
WFP has been working continuously in Afghanistan since 1963, and is active in all 34 provinces. In recent years, WFP’s focus has shifted from emergency assistance to rehabilitation and recovery.
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