The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has handed out the first batch of 1,600 goats and 200 cows to farmers in southern Lebanon as part as its programme to assist them recover from livestock losses accrued during the war in mid-2006.
About 450 families living in 40 villages south of the Litani river are expected to eventually benefit from the $1.9 million programme, FAO announced today, adding that it will also include animal feed and training.
The batch of goats and cows will allow farmers to resume their production activities, including milk production and processing into local yoghurt and cheese.
An assessment by FAO found that southern Lebanese farmers lost more than 20,000 goats and 1,600 high-yielding milking cows as a result of the war between the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) and Hizbollah in 2006.
Nacif Rihani, an animal production expert with FAO, said animals and feed meeting international standards of productivity and health were found for the programme, despite rapidly rising market prices.
Aside from the livestock programme, the agency is also helping more than 600 horticulture farmers by distributing high-quality vegetable seeds and fertilizer and establishing greenhouses with improved design to maximize crop production.