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Japan strengthens food security in Afghanistan with a donation of US$ 18 million to help combat the threat of animal diseases – nomad community key beneficiary

19/11/2014 Kabul, Afghanistan

The Government of Japan, through technical assistance of the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and in collaboration with the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, has announced a new project to boost the resilience and livelihoods of livestock farmers in Afghanistan.

Animal disease outbreaks and emergencies threaten the livelihoods of livestock farmers and negatively impact a country’s economy and, in particular, the food security of nomad communities in Afghanistan that rely heavily on livestock.

Because early detection and warning systems are vital, the project will establish a network of local focal points, community-based animal health and extension workers, who will be trained in early disease detection in sheep, goats and cattle – the mainstay of Afghanistan’s livestock production – and help to set up a system of rapid response to outbreaks.

This on-farm livestock healthcare system will include a component of preventative vaccination programmes against known animal illnesses such as foot and mouth disease among others.

“The support pledged by the Government of Japan to assist vulnerable Afghan livestock owners, including nomad Kuchi communities who heavily depend on livestock for their food security and livelihood is greatly appreciated,” said Mohammad Asif Rahimi, Afghanistan’s acting Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock (MAIL). “This support is in line with MAIL’s strategy in combatting transboundary animal diseases (TADs), as well as with FAO’s country programming framework (CPF).”

The project, worth approximately US$ 18 million (JPN¥ 1.998 billion), was confirmed today during a signing ceremony in Afghanistan’s capital, Kabul. The project will be jointly implemented by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Ministry. 

“Supporting the livestock sector in Afghanistan is a key element in the country’s rehabilitation and development,” said Yasunari Morino, chargé d’affaires of the Japanese Embassy in Afghanistan. “This project also envisages agriculture education which will play a significant role for the future development of Afghanistan. We hope that this project will adequately support the Government’s new agriculture and livestock sector policies and strategies.”

“Japanese assistance will focus on livestock owners at community level who will benefit from decreased livestock mortality and production losses,” the acting Minister added. “Subsequently, this will lead to improved food security.”

The project is comprised of six main components: 1) Building self-alertness of Kuchi pastoral communities; 2) Strengthening surveillance and diagnostic capability and capacity for FMD and peste des petits ruminants (PPR); 3): Strengthening the overall surveillance system and response mechanisms; 4): Increasing early warning mechanisms for the community and livestock owners; 5) Implementing preventive and emergency vaccination programmes against FMD and PPR; and 6): strengthening collaboration with neighbouring countries for coordinated control efforts. The project will be implemented in synergy with other on-going programmes and projects supporting animal health in Afghanistan.

The Government of Japan has made the development of the agriculture sector one of its highest priorities in its assistance to Afghanistan. Since mid-2010, Japan has contributed over US$ 100 million to FAO agricultural interventions in Afghanistan, including support to irrigation development valued at US$ 58 million. 

The Exchange of Note, the US$ 18 million Grant Agreement and the Project Document titled “Building resilience and self-reliance of livestock keepers by improving control of Foot-and-Mouth Disease (FMD) and other Transboundary Animal Diseases (TADs),” were signed during a ceremony at the Ministry by the acting Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock (MAIL), the chargé d’affaires on behalf of the Ambassador of Japan and the FAO Representative in Afghanistan, Tomio Shichiri. 

“We are extremely grateful to Japan for having steadily continued its support to Afghan farmers and livestock holders in an effort to increase the resilience of their livelihoods,” said Shichiri. “Increasing resilience of livelihoods to disasters is one of FAO’s Strategic Objectives, and FAO Afghanistan would like to focus on this resilience agenda while working with MAIL to fight hunger and poverty,” he added.

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