Afghanistan is a traditional livestock country and was in the past self-sufficient in livestock products. 85 percent of Afghanistan’s population depends on the income derived from agriculture and livestock production. In 1998, FAO started dairy sector development activities with the support of the Government of the United Kingdom and the United Nations Development Programme, followed by the Government of Germany in 2002. The interest for the development of the dairy sector came from both consumers and producers.
The goal of this project was to improve food security in Afghanistan by raising the productive capacity of the national dairy sector through the development of integrated model dairy schemes, with the following objectives:
- Increase the consumable and saleable products from cattle production
- Develop processing and marketing structures for milk and dairy products
- Develop cooperative organizational structures for the management of the three dairy schemes in Kabul, Mazar, Herat and Kunduz
- Assist in the development of policies and strategies for the dairy sector.
Commencing in April 2005, this project targeted approximately 3300 village families in the provinces of Kabul, Logar, Wardak, Balkh, Herat and Kunduz in Afghanistan. The project was designed to assist the coordination of different dairy development activities, while at the same time focusing on small farmers and the production of various dairy products in processing units with a capacity up to ten metric tons per day. The project also focused on establishing cooperative management and ownership structures while promoting private ownership of processing plants by individual entrepreneurs.
All activities were coordinated with the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock. The key components of the project include: raising the quality of available fodder and promoting the use of concentrates and minerals; improving the knowledge on animal health issues amongst dairy farmers, with an emphasis on improved management and hygiene; facilitating breed improvement through Artificial Insemination; assisting in the formation of milk producer groups and improving access to markets for milk and milk products.