Low precipitation during the winter 2017–18 primary planting season caused severe drought throughout Afghanistan that continued during the spring and summer months. The shortage of rainfall has resulted in dry pasture, poor quality fodder, spread of livestock diseases and animal deaths, and a shortage of water for rainfed and irrigated agriculture.
The impact of the ongoing drought is negatively affecting 2.2 million people across 20 provinces and forcing over a quarter of a million people to leave their place of origin and abandon rural agriculture-based livelihoods to look for jobs in urban areas, placing additional pressure on already resource-stressed cities.
Agriculture – including livestock-related activities – plays a major role in Afghanistan’s economy. Nearly 90 percent of the poor that live in rural areas highly depend on agriculture. Overall, approximately 80 percent of the country’s population depend on it as their primary source of livelihood. Therefore, shocks affecting the agriculture sector can have devastating impacts.
Badghis, one of the most drought-affected provinces, is experiencing the highest level of food insecurity in the country. This is linked to the fact that livestock rearing is the primary source of livelihood for 69 percent of rural families in the province. Vulnerable smallholders are particularly affected by the current drought. With the rising feed and fodder prices, spread of livestock disease and deaths, and distress livestock selling, the situation could only escalate in the coming months.
Thanks to a Belgian contribution of USD 300 000, through the Special Fund for Emergency and Rehabilitation (SFERA), FAO aims to protect and restore drought-affected agriculture- and livestock-based livelihoods in Badghis through the provision of concentrated animal feed, fodder crop seeds and deworming medicine for large and small ruminants.
This FAO-Belgium partnership will benefit 36 400 people who will also receive training on improved livestock husbandry techniques. With this support, FAO is strengthening the resilience of farmers and herders in Badghis’ population and improving their overall food security. Belgium’s continuous support allows FAO to respond immediately to a diverse range of humanitarian crises, such as drought, to enable vulnerable populations to promptly recover and improve their food security.