In a pastoral country like Afghanistan, a significant part of the population engages in livestock production and rely on these animals not only for food but also an income and together with small-scale food crop production are the source of their subsistence. For that reason, it is of paramount importance that the people engaged in these activities not only have resources but also the skills and knowledge to maintain their livestock and improve the quality of milk products for consumption and sales.
Unfortunately, the latest drought has caused a widespread loss of livestock and decreases in herd size and community members have been unable to replace or replenish their herds following these significant losses. Moreover, it is estimated that as a consequence of the drought a large segment of the population will become severely food insecure and there will be an increase in acute malnutrition. The overall objective of this project is to improve local capacities, services and conditions for livestock rearing, fodder production, dairy processing, and dairy marketing. For that purpose, BRD has discussed livestock-related problems and consulted with community leaders and decided to select goats as the preferred animal for the project due to their hardiness and browsing habits, their ability to produce more milk than sheep, and their quick and relatively easy reproductive capacity.
The Project adopts an integrated approach and has a number of interrelated elements. A Livestock Committee is established, including representatives from different sectors of the community such as the shura, herders, and farmers groups, which will be in charge of selecting the beneficiaries of the project and monitoring implementation. The beneficiaries will receive 3 goats, supplementary fodder rations for the months when forage is limited, and technical training. The training will cover the following topics: problems in goat production, goat care (health, nutrition, feeding and watering), improved shelter, reproduction, milking and hygiene, spring fodder planting, and healthy hygienic goat milk and goat milk products. Additionally, the Project coordinates with the local system of animal health care delivery to support animal veterinary activities to reduce mortality and improve overall health of the animals.
Afghanistan is one of the world’s largest and complex humanitarian crisis. Four decades of constant armed conflict, frequent natural disasters and ensuing mass displacements have weaken its population’s resilience. Among those natural disasters, the worst drought in decades occurred in the year 2018 leaving many Afghans unable to provide enough food for their families. The drought also led to mass distress sale of livestock, high morbidity and mortality of animals and low productivity which continue to be a major concern for pastoralists, who make up 70 percent of the population. According to the FAO, the drought of 2018 has caused the deteriorating food security and livelihood situation to continue, affecting more than two-thirds of the country and destroying the agriculture sector.
A joint report by the Government of Afghanistan and the World Bank Group found that the production of livestock, among others, has great potential to create more, sustainable, and inclusive jobs if farmers are provided with technical knowledge, financial support, and greater access to market facilities.Through this project, BRD will assist individual herders and their families to replace lost livestock with goats and obtain the necessary knowledge, skills, and resources to improve the quality of goats they raise and thereby improve their families’ nutrition through increased consumption of goat milk and goat milk products as well as increase their income through sales of goat milk and goat milk products.