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FAO Distributes 150 Tonnes of Fodder to Vulnerable Livestock-Holding Families in Gaza Amid Looming Famine

FAO, with support from Belgium, Italy, and Norway governments, collaborated closely with the Palestinian Ministry of Agriculture and local NGOs to deliver life-saving fodder into and around Gaza.

Shivam Dwivedi
FAO Distributes 150 Tonnes of Fodder to Vulnerable Livestock-Holding Families in Gaza Amid Looming Famine (Photo Source: @FAO)
FAO Distributes 150 Tonnes of Fodder to Vulnerable Livestock-Holding Families in Gaza Amid Looming Famine (Photo Source: @FAO)

In an important intervention to address escalating food insecurity in the Gaza Strip, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has commenced the delivery of 150 tonnes of animal fodder to 2,450 livestock-keeping households. This move aims to protect surviving animals and revive local food production, including the supply of essential items like milk, dairy products, eggs, and meat, crucial for the nutritional needs of Gaza's population.

Food Insecurity: Challenges Amidst Conflict

The delivery marks the first substantial provision of animal fodder into Gaza since the recent hostilities, which have severely disrupted agrifood value chains. The ongoing conflict has rapidly intensified acute food insecurity, particularly in the north of Gaza, where famine conditions are emerging.

Before the conflict escalated, the agriculture sector in Gaza played a vital role in the local economy. As of October 7, food producers in Gaza maintained near self-sufficiency in key items such as eggs, milk, poultry, red meat, fish, vegetables, and fruits—essentials for a balanced and nutritious diet, especially for children.

Impact on Livestock

The conflict has taken a heavy toll on livestock, with approximately 55% of meat and dairy-producing animals slaughtered, consumed, or lost. Only 45% of small ruminants, equivalent to around 30,000 heads as of March, remain in Gaza.

Ciro Fiorillo, the Head of Office of FAO West Bank and Gaza Strip, remarked that the scarcity of animal fodder puts livestock holders at significant risk, resulting in the loss of primary assets and a vital source of nutrition and income. He emphasized the critical importance of ensuring fodder availability to support livestock survival, reproduction, and provision of essential nutritious food during conflicts.

FAO's Response and Challenges

FAO aims to deliver a total of 1,500 tonnes of fodder initially, sufficient to provide milk for all children under 10 in Gaza for approximately 50 days, meeting 20% of the WHO's recommended minimum daily caloric intake.

Abdulhakim Elwaer, FAO Assistant Director-General, stressed the urgency of restarting local food production to prevent famine and extreme malnutrition. He highlighted the logistical hurdles, especially obtaining entry permits, as a major barrier to effective aid delivery.

A Call for Peace and Food Security

Elwaer reiterated FAO's commitment to peace and the Right to Food as a human right. He emphasized the dangers of unrest on efforts to combat acute food insecurity, endangering lives of humans, animals, and crops alike.

While food aid is indispensable, it falls short of meeting Gaza's caloric and nutritional needs. Most food production imports are banned, except for a few items from countries other than Israel. FAO is dedicated to expanding assistance with partners and donors to restore access to highly nutritious food, prevent sector collapse, preserve livelihoods, and combat hunger and malnutrition.

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