Japan’s project to boost Afghan livestock
KABUL (Pajhwok): The Japanese government on Wednesday announced a new project to boost resilience and livelihoods of livestock farmers in Afghanistan through UN’s technical assistance and in collaboration with the Afghan government.
The Exchange of Note on the project for “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 by Yasunari Morino, Japan’s Charge d’Affaires ad interim in Afghanistan and Tomio Shichiri, UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) representative in Afghanistan during a ceremony at the Ministry of Agriculture Irrigation and Livestock (MAIL) in Kabul.
Acting MAIL minister Mohammad Asif Rahimi was present at the ceremony for the JPY 1.998 billion (US$ 19,254,000) project.
The project will establish a network of local focal points, community-based animal health and extension workers to be trained in early disease detection in sheep, goats and cattle – the mainstay of Afghanistan’s livestock production – and help set up a system of rapid response.
The on-farm livestock healthcare system will also include a component of preventative vaccination programmes against known animal illnesses such as foot and mouth disease among others.
“Japanese assistance will focus on livestock owners at community level who will benefit from decreased livestock mortality and production losses. Subsequently, this will lead to improved food security,” Rahimi said. He said the project would be jointly implemented by FAO and his ministry.
“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,” he said.
“This support is in line with MAIL’s strategy in combating transboundary animal diseases (TADs), as well as with FAO’s country programming framework (CPF),” the acting minister added.
Morino said supporting the livestock sector in Afghanistan was a key element in the country’s rehabilitation and development.
“This project also envisages agriculture education which will play a significant role for the future development of Afghanistan.”
He said they hoped the project would significantly support Afghanistan’s agriculture and livestock sector area and the Japanese Embassy, MAIL and FAO would work together closely as one team for the success of the project”.
Shichiri, who was newly appointed as FAO Representative/Country Director to Afghanistan in November, said: “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.”
He said increasing resilience of livelihoods to disasters was one of the FAO’s strategic objectives and FAO Afghanistan would like to focus on the resilience agenda while working with MAIL to fight hunger and poverty.
The project will be implemented in synergy with other on-going programmes and projects supporting animal health in Afghanistan.
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