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Danish Ambassador and Norwegian Minister Counsellor visit drought-affected farmers in Herat

Danish Ambassador and Norwegian Minister Counsellor visit drought-affected farmers in Herat


On 29 May 2019, H.E. Nikolaj Hejberg, Danish Ambassador to Afghanistan, and Mr. Johnny Almestad, Norwegian Minister Counsellor to Afghanistan joined Rajendra Aryal, FAO Country Representative for the ceremonial handover of livestock inputs to drought-affected farmers in Herat. The ceremony took place at the Provincial Directorate of Agriculture, Irrigation, and Livestock (PAIL) in the presence of PAIL Director, Mr. Abdul Saboor Rahmany, and the national media.

The visiting delegation also interacted with project beneficiaries from Ghoryan, Kushk Kohna, Kohsan and Gulran districts in Herat and took stock of the impact of drought on their livelihoods and their needs. “Addressing the needs of Afghan farmers is our first priority. The Government of Denmark is committed to supporting farmers and specifically the agriculture sector,” said H.E. Hejberg, Danish Ambassador in Afghanistan.

“I had 50 livestock but now it’s reduced to five”  

After three years of back-to-back failed rains, Afghanistan was faced with a devastating drought that witnessed failed crops, livestock deaths, dried up pastures and migration of farming families. Fortunately, the country experienced good precipitation last winter that has allowed the return of those affected to their places of origin and resumption of agricultural activities; however, the impact of the drought was significant. Continuous support is still required to help the most affected people get back on their own feet.

The delegation also paid a courtesy call on the Governor of Herat, H.E. Abdul Qayum Rahimi. Discussions were held on the agricultural challenges and opportunities in Herat, and the best possible ways to strengthen partnership to support the agriculture sector in Afghanistan.

“We have received some support but the impact was huge. We need more support to get back to our normal lives. Before the drought, I had 50 livestock, but now it is reduced to five because all of them died”, said one of the beneficiaries that attended the ceremonial handover.

The distribution was a part of a larger Denmark-funded project to support 35 200 vulnerable agro-pastoral families in Badghis, Daikundi, Ghor, Helmand, Herat and Kandahar provinces that were most affected by the drought. Families in the six provinces will benefit from the provision of concentrated animal feed, fodder crop seed, deworming medicine and trainings on livestock husbandry best practices.

FAO is committed to supporting drought-affected agro-pastoralists at their places of origin to prevent further migration in larger cities by protecting their livestock and reviving productive livestock activities.