Earthquake has seriously hit farmers in Bam region
The recent earthquake in the city of Bam, Iran has seriously affected the agricultural sector in the region, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) said in a statement.
Due to widespread damage to buildings and infrastructure, commercial activities in the city of Bam and the surroundings have almost completely stopped. Date plantation owners, mostly small-scale farmers, are among the worst hit, FAO said. Families dependent on livestock production are also badly affected.
FAO launched an appeal Tuesday, January 13 for $2.5 million to assist farming families affected by the earthquake. Repairing irrigation systems to restore water supply for most affected date plantations, providing agricultural inputs and support for livestock farmers will be the main focus of FAO's emergency assistance.
An FAO mission is currently visiting Bam to assess the damage to the agriculture sector and provide detailed information on the assistance needed. In the area hit by the earthquake, agriculture is mainly based on dates, pistachio, citrus, vegetable and cereal production.
Livestock also plays an important role, with a total herd of 45,000 large and 220,000 small animals. Milk production is a major activity with mostly small-holders cultivating fodder crops. Agriculture provides employment for over 25 percent of the district's population of 230,000 people.
According to first assessments, the earthquake has seriously damaged the traditional irrigation infrastructure, the quanat water channels, as well as several wells. Greenhouses, motor-pumps, agricultural machinery and 38 rural small-and medium-scale date conservation and refrigeration units have been seriously damaged.
As storage facilities have also been affected, there is a serious concern about the availability of seed and animal feed for the coming planting season. There is also concern about 650 livestock shelters that have been destroyed and the loss of 450 large and around 20,000 small animals.
Additional funds will be needed to support the economic recovery of the population in the disaster-affected areas. In particular, FAO is planning to rehabilitate damaged agricultural infrastructure, repair livestock shelters and provide animal feed as well as seeds and fertilizers. — (menareport.com)
© 2004 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)
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