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FAO appeals for $1.5 million for emergency seed distribution in Georgia

FAO appeals for $1.5 million for emergency seed distribution in Georgia

Warning of an emergency situation in drought-stricken western regions of Georgia, the United Nations agricultural agency today appealed for $1.5 million to distribute seeds and fertilizer to more than 77,000 households in the affected parts of the country.

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said that many of the area’s 160,000 households would not have enough quality seed and other necessary agricultural inputs to plant their main subsistence crop, maize, for spring 2002.

“Without external assistance this year, fields will go unplanted or will be planted late, with poor quality seed and no fertilizer. The prospect is for a downward spiral into extended food aid dependence from which recovery will be slow, uncertain and costly in terms of human welfare," the agency said in a statement.

FAO will distribute sufficient quality maize seed and fertilizer for 77,720 households in the areas of Samegrelo, Guria and Racha-Lechkhumi to plant half a hectare of land for the spring 2002 planting season.

Maize is the principal food grain produced in western regions of Georgia, and it is also the main staple food of the Georgian people. Last year, the maize yield was only 17 per cent of normal. Despite food aid delivered by the UN World Food Programme, the average calorie intake in the area has fallen by 20 per cent in the past 18 months.