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 lost their herds, and gave up their nomadic life to live on the outskirts of the cities. Presently, the pastoralist Kuchi comprise only 8 – 10% of the population, but still own half of all small ruminants in Afghanistan.
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, sedentary VFUs are located where possible adjacent to Kuchi migration routes. DCA also implements special vaccination campaigns for the Kuchi herds. These measures are not only beneficial for the Kuchi, but also essential considering nation-wide animal health. The Kuchi animals that migrate through many areas of the country can be a major source of spreading of diseases over the country.
One of the DCA projects specifically target the Kuchi population is the IFAD/DCA CLAP Kuchi project. This 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, and the development of alternative livelihoods for settled Kuchi.