The European Commission (EC) has approved a food aid programme worth €29.4m (US$26.5m) to help with the fight against the food crisis and to improve food security in Afghanistan.

An important element of EU support for the rebuilding of Afghanistan is the main aim of the programme to raise the nutrition level of Afghans and help them obtain a balanced diet. The programme also supports Afghan efforts to improve its own food production. The amount includes the supply of seeds, foodstuffs, tools and fertilisers. The funds for this programme come from the Food Aid/Security budget line which is managed under the authority of Commissioners Poul Nielson and Christopher Patten.

This programme comes on top of commitments made by the EC already last year in providing food aid worth more than €24m via the World Food Programme (WFP) to alleviate the food crisis in Afghanistan. Unlike the previous programme which focused on mitigating the food crisis, this new one aims to help the rural population to re-establish their production systems, which in turn enables them to take care of their nutritional needs.

The programme will fund Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs) to provide seeds and food aid to assure the next winter planting. It will support a Food and Agricultural Office (FAO) project aiming to re-establish the national seed multiplication and distribution system. In addition, it is foreseen to fund NGOs engaging in the rehabilitation and support of rural production systems.

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