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UN study finds people with disabilities can help with agricultural projects

2 December - An Iranian case study organized by the United Nations food agency has found that people with disabilities "can make a significant contribution" to agricultural projects when they receive adequate training to do the work.

In a statement released today in Rome, where the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is holding its biennial governing conference, the FAO said it expects its work with the disabled will increase in the years ahead.

The case study, "Addressing Extension and Training Needs of Farmers with Physical Disabilities - A case study of the Islamic Republic of Iran," was released a day ahead of tomorrow's celebrations for International Day of Disabled Persons.

The FAO said its results should be useful for other countries as they devise strategies and special programmes for integrating disabled farmers, including those injured during war, into mainstream life.

It estimates there are half a billion people around the world who are disabled, with four out of every five living in developing countries where agriculture is often the biggest sector of the economy.

An expert from the FAO, Kalim Qamar, said physical disability is one of many factors that planners should consider when developing agricultural projects. He added that many war-disabled veterans want to remain on the land when they return from war.

"In recent years, we have seen a tremendous increase in incidences of natural disasters and conflicts. For this reason, our work with the disabled will increase and we must be prepared to adapt to these changes," he said.

Another FAO project, this time in Sri Lanka, aims to ensure that disabled farmers have the necessary skills and knowledge to start and maintain rural businesses. This project is based on a successful scheme in Thailand, where rural people with disabilities learnt about mushroom cultivation.

... Payvand News - 12/3/03 ... --

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