UN-backed investment to help poor farmers in Togo almost doubles its returns

3 August 2011

A United Nations-European Union initiative to help Togo cope with high food prices and bad weather by providing seeds, fertilizers and other input for 20,000 rural farmers has produced returns that are almost double the cost.

“Our prime objective, to improve the level of nutrition and to increase the income of vulnerable farmers, has been accomplished,” said Alfred Andriantianasolo, UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) emergency coordinator for the West African country.

Under the scheme, the European Union (EU) channelled €2.5 million through FAO in 2009 to help more than 20,000 Togolese farmers most affected by floods and sharp increases in food prices in 2007 and 2008 to restart production.

Two years on, FAO estimates at €4.7 million the total value of what they have produced – 9,634 tons of maize, 675 tons of rice, 85 tons of sorghum, 3,522 tons of tomatoes, 350 tons of onions and 85 tons of green chillis.

Rural Togolese were already suffering from malnutrition, exacerbated by demographic pressure and the collapse of cotton cultivation, a major cash crop. In 2006, almost 50 per cent of the population was underfed, according to figures from the UN World Food Programme (WFP).

Under the UN-EU initiative 15,000 farmers received seeds and fertilizer to grow staple crops such as maize, rice and sorghum, while 5,500 more received inputs for market gardening.

“We have provided some oxygen to farmers,” said Marc Casterán, in charge of rural development at the EU Delegation in Togo, explaining that the project aimed at helping the country move towards long-term food security.

 

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