Pawanda/Kuchis Need Policy Level Support.

Pawanda are the custodian of the world’s very precious livestock breeds, mainly comprised of sheep, goat, camel, donkey and chickens. They travel along with their livestock back and forth the Suleiman Piedmont &Indus delta (Pakistan) in winter and central highlands of Afghanistan in summer.

Recently, came to know a post about the Dutch Committee for Afghanistan’s project on the skill development in animal health of the Kuchis in Afghanistan. Ellen Geerlings, a friend and known to me since last decade told me about the good work done with the Kuchis. I responded to the post with some insight I have about the issue. Here in the following lines, are the comments and replies of me and Ellen. I share for a positive debate and highlighting the issues and miseries of the Kochis both in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

According to Ellen, the project covers the following objectives.

CLAP project started in 2014 in three provinces; Kabul, Logar and Parwan. The project will cover four new provinces including Balkh, Nangarhar, Baghlan and Herat. The project will also cover the main migration routes by training Kuchi veterinary para professionals, these will accompany the Kuchi and their herds on their migration route and provide animal health care services.

Author’s Response

Dear Ellen Geerlings and Daud, I’m basically from Kuchi Afghan tribes. Kuchis are settled both in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Our fore-forefather travel with their livestock into the central highlands of Afghanistan (Nawar) and back to the Suleiman Piedmont in winter. Some long traveling kuchis (in Pashtu we call PAWANDA) even travel to Sindh and Punjab provinces of Pakistan in winter. Kuchis or Pawanda are very excellent livestock keepers. They travel on their historical routes. They understand animal health, husbandry, value-added products, marketing, and the geographical and weathering understanding of the region. I have learned a lot from them in my lifetime. In my view, the Kuchis need little help in animal health (except vaccination), product development, and feeding of their livestock. The products made by the Kuchis are highly demanded by the consumers, ranging from Ghuarri (ghee) to Korath (curth/curd) and the sheep meat to the wool products. They still earn enough money from their livestock. Here I come to the main and important point. Their main problem is their zero presence at the policy making table. They are never heard when policies are made for them. They need policy-level support.

Camel Caravan of Afghan nomads in Musakhel Balochistan.

Ellen Response

Dear Prof Kakar, Thank you for your valuable insights. I remember you are from the Kuchi community yourself. I do think the project is contributing to the well-being and resilience of the Kuchi as it is targeted to the most marginalised families within the Kuchi community. The paravets are placed in areas where animal healthcare services are lacking. These paravets receive a 6 month training and will return to their own communities where they are known and respected. They use high quality vaccins as opposed to the vaccines available in markets which are often overdate, diluted and/or of very low quality. You do have a very good point however; (more) policy level support is needed. This is not only the case in Afghanistan but in a wide range of other areas as well. I remember the Raika nomads in Rajasthan frequently being disadvantaged by agricultural policies resulting in their grazing areas being encroached upon, migration routes being blocked, increased tension between farmers and nomads and decreasing water availability due to indiscriminate drilling of water wells by farmers. The CLAP project has a policy support component and a Kuchi board that has advised the project. But policy development is a very slow process.

Author’s Reply

Ellen Geerlings Thanks for the detailed reply. I appreciate the great objectives and achievements of the project. My previous response was not completed because of the limited space in the LinkedIn comments tab. Policy level support is very important and their prospects at the policy level must be taken into account. Their main problem is now the restrictions in their movements both in Afghanistan and Pakistan and also on the Durand line which we Pashtun call it bad line (dividing us). They also need support in finding marketing opportunities at a global level to have enough money for sustaining this great and historic animal husbandry. I personally, introduced some products from our traditional livestock systems in the slow food event in Turin Italy. The people showed very great interest in the products. We have very special and tasty Curd/Korath, Rozgani and Kakari. Our sheep meat is special, unique taste and aroma. We dry it and the product name is PERSENDA/Landi. The ark of taste appreciated the texture, taste, and aroma. you can read about the dry meat and can use the link as a reference. Very best regards and thanks for your patience.

Small Scaled Family Farming

In my view, farming is only profitable and sustainable in true form when it is practice as people’s agriculture, not the machine’s agriculture. With the people’s agriculture, the orchard/garden is considered as part of the home and the animal cares as a family member. images

I have the background of the subsistence rural agriculture and know the link between the small scaled farmer and their farm and animals. Such farmers only pick the fruit and vegetables when it is needed for food and cash money. The same they do with the animals. They hardly sell their animals when there is no extreme demand for the money. 

The Poisonous Fields

Do we really eat safe food? The reply cannot be a clear yes. The factory farming is producing toxic foods as the scientific findings revealed.  Sometimes I think ‘a day will come when the living people will say “those who killed in wars and disasters are luckier. Eating from the poisonous field make us prone to various health issues. Just watched a TV program on RT, how the factory farming is poisoning our field and ultimately our bodies. poison fields

Roundup (active ingredient Glyphosate) is the world’s most widely-used weed killer. Some claim it’s completely harmless, others say it’s a serious health hazard for humans and animals. The WHO has suddenly called for an all-out ban on glyphosate, considering it toxic and probably carcinogenic. This film sets out in search of sick animals, humans and plants in Germany, Denmark and the US, and asks how the WHO reached these new conclusions and what action the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment is taking poisoned fields: Glyphosate, an underrated risk?

While googling, there are many research based peer reviewed articles proving that this product is causing cancer and also developing Autism in the kids. Are our generations are safe? The decision makers should not ignore this fact. There must be a concreted outcome of the whole discussion as going on among the scientists.

I found Dr. Stephanie Seneff, the author of more than 170 peer reviewed scientific article is focusing especially on this alarming issue. Stephanie Seneff is a well-known scientist emphasizing on the consequences of the Monsanto roundup, GMOs and the factory farming.  Some scientists and activists have the fears that up to 2050, around half of the kids in USA will be autistic. Also, Glyphosate causes low or poor fertility in dairy cows who depend on the food coming from such a poisonous fields.

I have been arguing since last 12 years that small scaled ecofriendly agricultural system is the solution to such threats like poisonous fields. We should eat less but quality products. We should not pose threat to the whole humanity just to earn some extra pennies. Let’s advocate small farming and promote the products come from small farmers and pastoralists.

Sustainable breeding strategies for Red Maasai sheep in Kenya — ILRI BioSciences

Although environmentally-adapted strains of livestock, are essential to smallholder farmers, there has been a decline in the populations of such breeds, such the ‘hardy’ Red Massai sheep. A recent poster by scientists at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) emphasizes that through the implementation of various breeding strategies it may be possible to safeguard this drought- and disease-resistant sheep breed, helping increase food security and productivity across southern Kenya

via Sustainable breeding strategies for Red Maasai sheep in Kenya — ILRI BioSciences

Small Scaled Livestock Farming! Glimpses from Indian Gujrat

Small  Scaled Livestock Farming and pastoralism are synonymous in many parts of the world. This beautiful system produces unique quality of food items in a very ecofriendly way. The system is sustainable, having no negative effects on the mother earth’s health.


This system is community centered, rich with traditional knowledge, a full family business and based on very low inputs.13310593_10209113242725732_55280275851466963_n.jpg

camel play very pivotal role in this system.13335785_10209113243045740_2276470669661594807_n.jpgAmong them women play significant manage heard as well the family.