UN food agency launches initiative to fight hunger in Afghan cities

3 January 2012

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) announced today a new food subsidy initiative geared towards providing Afghanistan’s urban poor with guaranteed access to provisions despite the threat of food insecurity across the country.

The project, coordinated in partnership with the Afghan Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs, Martyrs, and Disabled (MoLSAMD), is designed to assist households in Kabul through a monthly cash voucher programme aimed at offsetting the impact high food prices have on the city’s poor.

“We are launching this project after the successful implementation of similar programmes in other Afghan cities where it has had a positive impact on household food security,” said Bradley Guerrant, WFP’s Deputy Country Director for Afghanistan, referring to similar voucher programmes in other Afghan cities, including Mazar-i-Sharif, Herat, and Jalalabad.

“We are very happy to be working in partnership with MolSAMD to help contain the impact of high food prices on the Afghan urban poor,” he added.

According to WFP, some 18,000 households – or an estimated 114,000 individuals – consisting mainly of poor women and households headed by people with disabilities will benefit from the project. Each monthly voucher is worth $25 and can be exchanged for food items in participating local shops.

While most of WFP’s work has traditionally focused on food-insecure rural areas of Afghanistan, the new voucher project, to which the UN agency will contribute $3 million over a six-month period, will function as a safety net for those urban poor who are particularly vulnerable to high food prices.


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