WFP has welcomed a US$1.25 million donation from USAID’s Food for Peace programme which bridges a serious gap in food supplies that has been threatening WFP’s relief and recovery operation in Georgia.
“The generous support from the United States comes at a crucial time for our three-year operation,” said Inge Breuer, WFP’s Country Director in Georgia.
“It will cover the critical food needs for more than 200,000 Georgians, among whom there are poor subsistence farmers, school children and destitute elderly pensioners who are being assisted through WFP soup kitchens,” she added.
The US contribution is in the form of 2,000 metric tons of wheat flour and 200 metric tons of vegetable oil, to be distributed among Georgia’s most impoverished communities.
“The United States of America continues to be a key partner for WFP’s humanitarian work in Georgia. Thanks to this donation, we can continue our food aid programme until March next year,” said Breuer.
Insufficient kilocalorie intakes
According to WFP’s 2004 pre-harvest survey, an estimated 70 percent of poor Georgian farmers suffer from an insufficient intake of kilocalories.
Even more suffer from an imbalanced diet which is highly dependent on bread, potatoes and inadequate protein.
Food for work
The Food-for-Work projects encourage the rural poor to work on schemes that increase the output of their land. It is heartening to see how much can be achieved with such a small investment
Inge Breuer, WFP Country Director in Georgia
WFP currently runs Food-for-Work projects to help over 170,000 small rural landowners strengthen their agricultural assets and build self-reliance through rehabilitation of irrigation and drainage channels, reclamation of arable and pasture land, construction of protecting gabions, water pipelines and rural roads.
“The Food-for-Work projects encourage the rural poor to work on schemes that increase the output of their land. It is heartening to see how much can be achieved with such a small investment,” added Breuer.
Country in transition
The UN has classified Georgia as a Low Income and Food Deficit country in transition.
Widespread unemployment and extremely low incomes, coupled with small landholdings and the absence of skills and inputs in rural areas have impaired access to staple foods for nearly 60 percent of the Georgian population.
WFP food assistance works in partnership with the Georgian government, and contributes to the national recovery and transition process.
Improving food security
Through selected relief and recovery activities, WFP assistance helps maintain or improve food security among the most needy while longer-term structural reforms are adopted.
In addition, WFP has recently expanded its scope of operation by complementing the government’s efforts to bring institutionalized children home to their natural families.
Over 6,000 primary school children in the most deprived communities of the country are currently assisted by WFP’s school feeding programme that addresses hunger, promotes education and encourages parents to keep their children in local schools.