The ongoing long-term war in northwestern Syria has taken a heavy toll on the animal husbandry sector, posing numerous challenges for farmers in the region. With the absence of adequate support, livestock farmers are grappling with issues such as drought, soaring prices of animal feed, the spread of animal diseases, and limited sales opportunities in the local market. As a result, many farmers, including Abu Ahmad from the town of Termanin in the countryside of Idlib, have been forced to make difficult decisions, such as reducing their livestock numbers, to minimize losses. However, amidst these challenges, WATAN has been making a significant impact by providing crucial support to livestock farmers in the region, helping them safeguard their livelihoods, and ensuring food security for vulnerable communities.
Abu Ahmad, a seasoned livestock farmer with over 200 heads of sheep and goats, found himself in a precarious situation. He had to sell some of his livestock to secure vaccines and feed for the remaining herd. He highlighted that the profits from selling livestock products such as cheese, milk, and yogurt were no longer sufficient to cover the escalating costs of animal feed, putting hundreds of livestock farmers at risk of financial strain and instability.
Adding to the farmers’ woes, Abu Ahmad discovered that some of his young lambs were infected with a parasitic disease that could potentially result in mortality if left untreated. However, hope arrived in the form of WATAN’s veterinary teams, who have actively provided crucial support to livestock farmers in the region.
Through their strategic project to immunize all sheep herds against sheep pox and small ruminant plague in targeted areas, WATAN’s veterinary teams have been making a tangible impact on the ground. Dr. Yasser Abido, one of the participating doctors in the campaign, emphasized the farmers’ deep appreciation for the support provided by WATAN. The organization’s unwavering commitment to the well-being of livestock farmers has been instrumental in mitigating the impact of diseases and preserving the health of livestock herds, which are a lifeline for vulnerable communities.
WATAN’s project is expected to benefit 7,000 sheep farmers in 35 villages, playing a pivotal role in averting the collapse of the livestock sector and safeguarding the primary livelihood source for families that rely entirely on animal husbandry. The organization’s proactive approach, in partnership with donor agencies and international organizations, is contributing to the preservation of food security and livelihoods in the region.
In the face of numerous challenges, WATAN’s impact on the animal husbandry sector in northwestern Syria has been commendable. Through their tireless efforts in supporting livestock farmers, providing crucial veterinary services, and preserving livelihoods, WATAN has emerged as a beacon of hope for vulnerable communities. The organization’s dedication to ensuring food security and safeguarding livelihoods underscores the vital role of humanitarian organizations in addressing the pressing needs of communities affected by conflict and crisis. With continued support and collaboration, WATAN is making a lasting impact on the lives of livestock farmers and their communities in northwestern Syria.