December 2002, Rome/Kabul - A national livestock
census has started in Afghanistan.
than 30 000 villages and farming communities will be visited
over the coming months to provide detailed information on the
number of animals and livestock production practices, according
to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
FAO is conducting the survey in close cooperation with
the government of Afghanistan and non-governmental
organizations, with financial assistance from the government of
"There are no exact figures
of the current number of livestock in Afghanistan,"
said Len Reynolds, FAO Census Manager. "The last census
was held in 1995, but the situation has changed dramatically
years of drought and conflict, farmers and nomads in Afghanistan
have suffered a severe drop in livestock."
According to preliminary estimates by FAO, the losses
amount to more than 70 percent. The Kuchi nomads were especially
hard hit, many of whom have lost nearly all their flocks.
Better control of animal
The census is essential
for planning the rehabilitation and development of the Afghan
livestock sector. It will also help to better target veterinary
services and disease control, in particular vaccination
campaigns against infectious diseases like rinderpest and
"We will contact
every Afghan village," Reynolds said. "More
than 500 Afghans, from private veterinary field units, will
deliver and collect the simple two-page census form over the
next months. We will contact the local Imam and Shura first to
explain the reasons for the census, and also use radio stations
to inform farmers about the survey," Reynolds said.
The census started in the mountainous areas
where snow has already fallen. Insecurity along the
Afghanistan-Pakistan border is expected to restrict access in a
few districts according to FAO.
collection will probably be finished by the end of March 2003,
the final analysis and report will be completed by the end of
Media Relations Officer
+39 06 570