The Kabul times, Afghanistan Trustable News Agency.

Rebuilding livelihood in Afghanistan’s rural communities

The starting point for a world without poverty and hunger, is the rural world. An estimated 3.4 billion people – around 45 per cent of the global population – live in the rural areas of developing countries. Most depend on small, family farms for their income and sustenance. Rural people grow the food that feeds their nations, but they are also disproportionately poor: 80 per cent of the people living in extreme poverty live in rural areas, not cities. Investing in rural people is a long-term solution to so many of the problems we face today in the world. Hunger, poverty, youth unemployment and forced migration – all have deep roots in rural areas; and all can be vastly improved through investing in smallscale agriculture and inclusive rural development. Investment in agriculture is up to 11 times more effective in reducing extreme poverty than investment in any other sector in rural areas as successful small farms provide jobs for unskilled labourers. Small family farms generate income that is spent in rural communities and stimulates rural economies, which in turn contribute to peace and security. And farms grow the food that feeds us all. Today’s generation of young people, at 1.8 billion, is the largest ever in the world. Most live in the rural areas of low and middleincome countries, including Afghanistan. They are two to three times more likely to be unemployed than adults. And they are also more likely to be poor. As a result, they are more likely to leave their homes to search for work. Unless we invest in rural areas, and develop strong rural economies with attractive prospects for young people, they will be forced to migrate – first to the city – and then, if they cannot find decent employment – across borders to neighbouring countries and beyond. In Afghanistan, the Crisis Response Initiative (CRI) is helping both settled and nomadic pastoralists build resilience against crisis that threaten their livelihoods. Afghanistan has been disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, the climate emergency and the ongoing war in Ukraine, driving global food, fuel, and fertilizer prices to unprecedented levels. The CRI, launched by the International Fund for Agriculture Development, IFAD, is designed to mitigate these shocks, prevent hunger, and alleviate the impacts of the food crisis on the most impoverished rural communities. Through the project, over 24,000 pastoralists have been trained in efficient animal husbandry practices, including the use of quality vaccines, medicines, hygiene and sanitation measures. 175 veterinary field units have been provided with technical equipment and medicines and millions of sheep and goats have received vaccinations, deworming and veterinary treatment By strengthening the livestock sector and promoting access to markets, the CRI is playing a vital role in strengthening food security and agricultural development in Afghanistan. The Crisis Response Initiative protects livelihoods and builds resilience in rural communities by addressing the urgent needs caused by crises while tapping into new market opportunities for small-scale producers. It focuses on tailored interventions to prevent hunger and food insecurity, while supporting sustainable food systems. Rural development is central to ending hunger and poverty, and crucial to meeting the new sustainable development goals. More than that, implementation of small projects can transform rural communities economically and socially. Let’s investing in rural people as investing in rural people is in fact investing in a brighter future for everyone. Mukhtar Safi

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The Kabul times, Afghanistan Trustable News Agency.