Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Afghanistan: Dairy scheme among success stories in Afghanistan

A United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) dairy project, which has boosted the incomes of 1,600 families fivefold, is among the success stories coming out of Afghanistan, the agency said today.

The FAO dairy initiative in the capital, Kabul, and the four provinces of Logar, Wardak, Mazar and Kunduz, has helped increase family incomes from $130 to $650 a year.

Further, women do the bulk of the work for the scheme and keep 95 per cent of the money.

The initiative started in 2003 and focuses on integrated elements such as improved fodder, access to artificial insemination and improved veterinary services.

“Starting from scratch, we helped [farmers] increase their milk production to 10,000 litres a day,” said FAO Dairy Officer Tony Bennett.

Agency experts showed those taking part in the scheme how to organize themselves into cooperatives to collect milk and operate plants to pasteurize milk and product yogurt, fermented milk, butter and other products.

Farmers are not the only people reaping the benefits, FAO said, with many Afghans now having access to fresh health milk products.

Additionally, the success of the dairy schemes is making it much more profitable for farmers to grow fodder and seeds which can result in profits of $900 per hectare, perhaps even competing with illicit crop production.

But the agency noted that security concerns, particularly in Afghanistan’s south, are curbing the growth of the project, which is part of larger FAO efforts to revitalize the country’s war-battered agricultural economy.
Published by Mike Hitchen, Mike Hitchen Consulting
Putting principles before profits