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Afghanistan: UN food agency conducting national livestock survey

Afghanistan: UN food agency conducting national livestock survey

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) today said it is conducting a national livestock census in Afghanistan in a bid to collect detailed data on the number of animals in the country and its livestock production practices.

"There are no exact figures of the current number of livestock in Afghanistan," said Len Reynolds, FAO Census Manager. "The last census was held in 1995, but the situation has changed dramatically since then."

After four years of drought and conflict, farmers and nomads in Afghanistan have suffered a severe drop - as much as 70 per cent - in livestock, according to FAO, which noted that the census is essential for planning the rehabilitation and development of the Afghan livestock sector. The survey will also help to better target veterinary services and disease control, in particular vaccination campaigns against infectious diseases like rinderpest and foot-and-mouth.

The current exercise, which will involve more than 30,000 villages and farming communities, and is being undertaken in close cooperation with the Afghan Government and non-governmental organizations, with financial assistance from Italy.

The agency expects data collection to be finished by the end of next March, with the final analysis and report completed by the end of July 2003.