Afghanistan: Poor Farmers Save Livestock
Many rural Afghan communities, like this one in the northwestern Maimana region, rely on rearing animals to make a living.
Animals play an important role in daily life as well. Among other things, they are a vital means of transport.
The harsh winter of 2007-2008 caused many people to lose much of their livestock. By spring 2008 this farmer, Hajhi Abdul Hamid, had only five sheep left out of one hundred and fifty.
In the village of Quraish, community leaders asked WFP for help to build a stable to shelter their livestock in winter. A 'Food for Work' project was set up so that local people would receive food rations while working on the project. This meant they could stop worrying about feeding their families and concentrate on building the stable.
The stable was built in pastureland where all the village farmers had access. The ground at the bottom of the hill was too soft and kept collapsing, so it had to be dug out quite high up with a path along which the animals could be herded.
The farmers say it was a major success as they only lost a few animals in the winter of 2008-2009 and that was through disease, not the cold.
This year they are hoping that their stocks will e replenished, although they say it will take a few years for them to return to their former numbers.