In response to the threat to food security of soaring food prices, the FAO Director-General in 2007 launched the Initiative on Soaring Food Prices (ISFP). As a part of this initiative, FAO approved emergency assistance under its Technical Cooperation Programme (TCP) aimed to alleviate the impact of soaring food prices on the most affected vulnerable farming populations. In Asia, such TCP assistance was provided to ten countries (Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, DPR Korea, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Timor-Leste). These were bolstered by a regional TCP project based in RAP to provide technical support and monitoring and reporting of the activities from the regional level. The ISFP TCP projects, implemented for a year in 2008/09, completed their activities by December 2009.
The TCP projects’ major component was seeds and fertilizer distribution, complemented by other inputs–irrigation channel construction and maize silos for seed storage in Bhutan, zinc sulfate and hand tools in Sri Lanka, and technical booklets in Cambodia. Project sites and beneficiaries were targeted and various input distribution systems were used to suit the respective country contexts.