Animals delivered to war-affected farmers in Southern Lebanon
A boost to rehabilitate the countryside
12 June 2008, Rome/Beirut - Farmers in Southern Lebanon are receiving the first batch of 200 cows and 1 600 goats to help them recover from losses of livestock during the war in July and August 2006, FAO announced today.
The delivery is part of a first phase FAO emergency project to assist poor farmers affected by the war in about 40 villages in Southern Lebanon. With a total cost of US$1.9 million, the project is mainly being financed through the Lebanon Recovery Fund. Training, animal feed as well as animals make up a package included in this recovery and rehabilitation project.
Some 450 of the hardest-hit farming families are expected to benefit from the project located in the area south of the Litani River, where livestock losses are estimated at 1 600 high-yielding milking cows and more than 20 000 goats, according to an FAO damage assessment.
Despite the difficulties in locating and selecting suitable heifers, goats and other inputs like feeds within a context of rapidly rising market prices, animals meeting international standards of productivity and health were found, according to Mr Nacif Rihani, FAO animal production expert.
The delivery will help affected livestock farmers resume their production activities which include milk production and processing into local yogurt and cheese. As a result, farmers are regaining access to food and sources of income. Among the most affected households who are benefiting from the project are families headed by widows, the wounded or the handicapped.
As the number of livestock to be distributed remains low in relation to the magnitude of the losses, a substantial extension of the rehabilitation plan would be required to bring livestock keeping in Southern Lebanon to pre-war levels, Mr Rihani concluded.
In addition to the livestock recovery project, FAO is assisting over 1 600 horticulture farmers through the distribution of high quality vegetable seeds, fertilizer and the establishment of greenhouses with an improved design to ensure increased crop production. In response to the loss of forest cover from massive fires associated with the earlier hostilities and devastating fires in 2007, FAO is working with the Ministry of Environment and other line ministries together with the Association of Forests, Development and Conservation to help reforest damaged land and work closely with communities in forest fire prevention and control.
Media Relations, FAO
(+39) 06 570 56328
e-mail this article