FAO emergencies and resilience

Afghanistan: Distribution of animal feed to vulnerable Kuchi nomadic herding communities and livestock owners

Some 220 vulnerable households from marginal herding communities in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan, received 200 kg of concentrate animal feed each to keep their livestock alive, healthy and productive. They also received technical training on animal husbandry to maximize the impact of the feed.

For most of the households who were supported, livestock is their only source of livelihood. Feed and fodder prices have soared, and casual labour opportunities disappeared in cities due to the economic implosion following the political transition in August 2021. With no other source of income, many vulnerable herders are being forced to sell their livestock at low prices in order to put food on the table for their families. Furthermore, farmers are selling their livestock in distress in order to buy feed to keep their remaining animals alive. Destocking levels have been dramatic.

The importance of protecting livestock in Afghanistan cannot be overstated. In 2021, almost 700 000 livestock were protected by FAO in Afghanistan. These animals can produce enough milk to provide one cup of milk for every Afghan child for five months, a crucial source of nutrition.

Most of the herders assisted belong to Kuchi nomadic communities. Kuchi maintain their ancestral lifestyle and migrate with their herds seasonally. They raise livestock and sell animals and their by-products to local communities for their subsistence. Despite being essential to Afghanistan’s food security, the majority of Kuchi lack financial resources and live a challenging life. COVID-19, conflict and political upheaval have seriously impacted their livelihoods.

This specific support came as a result of a previous assessment conducted by an FAO delegation headed by Richard Trenchard, FAO Representative in Afghanistan.