United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has appealed for US $2 million of aid to urgently supply 700 tonnes of rice seeds and tools to 70,000 farming families so they can start growing their own food.
"Two million dollars is a relatively low price to pay to ensure that half a million Liberians will not go to bed hungry, or at best will not be dependent on food aid next year," Subraman Thirugnanasambanthar, the FAO representative in Liberia said.
"Stimulating agricultural production is far more cost-effective and sustainable in the long-term, than providing food aid to the same number of people," he added.
The agency's recent assessments have shown that three out of four farmers do not have access to rice seeds for the 2004 planting season, FAO said in a statement.
"A potentially disastrous situation can be avoided if farmers in stable areas receive rice seeds in time to ensure their own food security and to increase rice production," the agency's representative in Monrovia said.
The 14-year civil war in Liberia, which ended in August, destroyed the country's infrastructure and forced many rural families to flee their farms. Rice and cassava are the staple foods of Liberia's three million people.
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