In Afghanistan, some 7.6 million people are food-insecure and experience high levels of under-nutrition due to poverty, conflict-induced displacement, poor quality basic services, weak institutional capacities and fluctuating food prices. Recurring natural hazards and disasters and regular climatic shocks affect some 250,000 people already vulnerable to food insecurity. When severe drought hit 14 northern and central provinces in 2011 and 2012, the prevalence of food insecurity in the northeast, central highlands and southwest regions, during winter and spring lean seasons was evident. During this time, 2.6 million affected people needed assistance to avert hunger and malnutrition.
The Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan (GoIRA) is cognizant of the country’s humanitarian and development challenges including natural and manmade disasters inducing food insecurity. Aware of the efficiency and effectiveness of food reserves, and informed by FAO studies,1 the Government has devised a Strategic Grain Reserves (SGR) programme whose objectives are to:1) provide emergency food assistance to transitory food insecure households; 2) support communities and farmers with storage facilities; 3) assist producers to secure fair prices at harvest times; and 4) contribute to domestic food price stabilization. The programme aims at establishing a food reserve of some 200,000 mt capacity by 2015, to assist about 2 million people for 6 months, and 300,000 mt by 2024. In addition, the programme will eventually contribute to availability and accessibility to local grains, including fortified wheat flour.
WFP is tasked with the planning, designing, and construction of bagged storage facilities as well as technical operational training. These responsibilities are delineated in a January 2012 Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between MAIL and WFP. Under the MoU, WFP successfully completed a 22,500 mt (10,000 m2) bagged storage facility in Kabul which was inaugurated by the Government in September 2013. The facility was funded under PRRO 200063 at a cost of US$ 7.7 million.
This Special Operation (SO) aims to construct four medium-sized bagged storage facilities in four provinces of Afghanistan, thereby demonstrating WFP’s continued commitment to national food security solutions. Project implementation will include construction of the storage facilities as well as development of institutional and human capacity in logistics, procurement, food safety, quality control, and warehouse management. The bagged storage facilities will be built in existing complexes that contain silos. The storage complexes are located in regions with high concentrations of food insecure populations and significant exposure to natural disasters, such as droughts and floods. WFP’s Purchase for Progress (P4P) activities are implemented in these areas.