Kuchi: the Afghan pastoralists
The nomadic Kuchi are the largest vulnerable population in Afghanistan. For centuries they roamed the country with their large herds, offering an important source of meat, wool and skins to the Afghan population. However, since the 1960s the Kuchi population has shrunk by 40% due to continued wars and droughts. Many Kuchi gave up their nomadic life and live on the outskirts of the cities now. Presently, the pastoralist Kuchi comprise only 8 – 10% of the population, but still own 50% of all small ruminants in Afghanistan. Since the 1980s many Kuchi lost their herds due to wars and droughts, and had to take on a settled life.
DCA support to the Kuchi
In many of its projects, DCA targets the Kuchi livestock owners. Kuchi often do not have access to the veterinary care provided to sedentary farmers in their villages. Therefore, DCA trains Kuchi paravets and BVWs to provide animal health care to the herds of the migrating Kuchi. In addition, DCA implements special vaccination campaigns for the Kuchi herds. This is not only beneficial for the Kuchi, but also essential considering nation-wide animal health. The Kuchi animals who migrate through many areas of the country can be a major source of spreading diseases in the country.
The IFAD/DCA CLAP Kuchi project addresses the challenges of all Kuchi in the target provinces, migratory as well as sedentary. DCA’s interventions focus on access to veterinary services, awareness campaigns, and value chain development.