Farmers in Sudan's Nuba Mountains have received seeds, tools and construction materials from FAO to rehabilitate agriculture and build dams, seedbanks and community nurseries.
Some 150,000 people on both sides of the conflict between the Government of Sudan and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) will benefit from FAO's agricultural rehabilitation projects in the region.
FAO supplied timber, cement, metal, wheelbarrows and watering cans by road from the government-held town of Kadugli, through Joint Military Commission checkpoints in the border town of Kauda, to farmers living in areas held by the SPLM.
"Helping farmers in this contested area is an important contribution to the process of political and social reconciliation," said Anne Bauer, Director of FAO's Emergency Operations and Rehabilitation Division.
"Through its emergency projects, FAO is equally targeting government- and SPLM-held areas on the basis of need. The distribution of basic agricultural equipment and training in new skills offer farmers and their families, who have suffered years of conflict, an opportunity to build their future," Anne Bauer said.
Some 85 percent of the population of the Nuba Mountains, which has been a zone of conflict and civil unrest since 1985, is dependent on agriculture and livestock.
Levels of food insecurity are high among the more than 50 tribal groups that live in the region.
The cease-fire agreement reached in 2002 between the government and the SPLM ensured the safety of passage of emergency relief supplies by land throughout the Nuba Mountains.
FAO is currently operating more than 20 emergency relief and rehabilitation projects throughout Sudan.
In Kassala, 18 km west of the Eritrean border, FAO is working with the local non-governmental organization Intermediate Technology Development Group (ITDG) to clear and repair around 600 wells, which were seriously damaged when the Elgash River swept through the town in July 2003.
In Upper Nile State, FAO training courses teach internally displaced people and returnees in the town of Malakal how to preserve and process fish. This will help the local community to increase the supply and availability of cheap fish as a source of protein, particularly during the period between the first rains and the first harvests, when food is scarce.
In Bahr El Jabel State, FAO funds training courses and provides metal sheets for the blacksmiths of Juba to make traditional farming tools.
FAO operations in Sudan are financed by Belgium, Canada, the European Commission and the United Nations Development Programme, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and the United States of America. (menareport.com)
© 2004 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )