The FAO warned on Wednesday that an estimated 400,000 Afghan farmers would be missing the winter planting this month. In a special news alert in what it called a “very serious food crisis” in Afghanistan, the FAO appealed for urgent assistance to provide seeds and feed for livestock with the onset of winter. Of the nearly 300,000 mt of annual wheat seed required, there was a deficit of about 60,000 mt which meant an estimated 400,000 farmers would be missing the winter planting, the FAO reported. The drought this year had decimated crops and livestock, with more than three million people severely affected. Intensified civil conflict, particularly in northern parts, had resulted in fresh waves of population displacement, aggravating the precarious food situation. Large-scale movement of people, particularly from remote districts in Ghor and Badghis provinces in western Afghanistan and Faryab province in the northern region, had already begun with destitute households now being accommodated in camps at the edge of Herat, the main urban centre in the west. Nearly 2,000 households were reported to be in these camps with more expected in the coming months. In Dari Suf, in the northern province of Samangan, a number of starvation-related deaths had been reported. The FAO said that prospects for the winter cropping season, which normally started in October and November, were not promising.
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