2 500 cattle flown to farmers in Kosovo


Around 2 500 cattle have been flown to Kosovo since the beginning of October as part of an Emergency Farm Reconstruction Project funded by the World Bank and the Netherlands and managed by FAO. The animals were given to farmers and their families who lost all their livestock during the war.

International experts and veterinarians from Kosovo selected the animals in Austria and Germany. The breeds chosen, Simmental Fleckvieh and Brown Swiss, are particularly well adapted to the climate and small-scale farming in Kosovo.

The distribution took place in the three municipalities that suffered the greatest damage to their agriculture. The beneficiary families will also receive veterinary services and concentrated feed for their animals.

"We want to give poor families a new chance," says Daniele Donati, FAO Emergency Coordinator for Kosovo. "After they lost everything during the conflict, receiving cattle will enable them to start livestock production again. This project is an important contribution to the re-stocking of the cattle herd." Looting and slaughter of livestock was widespread during the war. FAO estimates that farmers in Kosovo lost about 200 000 cattle, or half the national herd.

"By providing access to milk and cheese, the project will improve the nutrition and food security of poor families," Mr Donati says. "It will also stimulate the local production of dairy products and help reduce Kosovo's dependence on imports."

The project includes the rehabilitation of veterinary services. Veterinary kits including drugs and equipment for artificial insemination will be distributed to private veterinarians on a cost-recovery basis. In addition, a central veterinary laboratory will be equipped for animal disease surveillance. FAO and the World Bank will also repair and replace farm machinery through the project.

"The project shows that FAO is moving from emergency assistance to rehabilitation in Kosovo," Mr Donati says. "Kosovo has witnessed considerable progress in the rehabilitation of agriculture and a sharp recovery in agricultural production."

Since FAO started its emergency activities in Kosovo in July 1999, around 85 000 families, or 700 000 people, have received agricultural emergency assistance (potato, vegetable and maize seeds, as well as fertilizers) from the Organization and its NGO partners. Because of the ongoing progress, the number of beneficiary families has now been reduced to 20 000.

Full press release

9 November 2000

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