National Conference of Agriculture Growth Kicks off in Kabul
Qaws 3: Nov 25, 2019
The National Conference of Agriculture Growth started at the Ministry of Agriculture today to develop the five and ten-year strategies to develop and grow the country's agriculture, irrigation and livestock sectors.
The three-day conference, attended by hundreds of agricultural sector officials, experts, lecturers of agriculture faculty, provincial agriculture directors, representatives of micro finance banks, and agrarian unions, will prepare and draft the five-ten year strategies for the development of agriculture sector after through discussions.
Nasir Ahmad Durrani, minister of agriculture, irrigation, and livestock, in the opening of the conference said that in these three days, all the information on how to grow and develop agriculture, the challenges and resources available will be presented, and after an in-depth discussion, the five- and ten-year strategies will be developed.
Mr. Durrani told the conference participants, “I expect that your wise, professional and practical ideas should be shared with the new approach to regional and trans-regional potential in order to examine the criteria that lead to the objective. I urge that you develop a practical and adaptive strategy for the country's welfare plan which will lead to the growth of the national economy through the growth of the agricultural sector.”
Agriculture minister says exploring current resources and replacing imported agricultural commodities in the first phase and adding value to Afghan-made crops and turning Afghanistan into an exporting country, examining how to attract the private sector's attention to investing in agriculture to strengthen the value chain of agricultural products, effective utilization of existing capacities and resources and the creation of new capacities are among the criteria for sequencing the five- and ten-year strategies.
He also emphasized that reducing the agricultural sector's vulnerability to climate change, transitioning from traditional agriculture to modern agriculture, trying to meet challenges and finding solutions and making effective use of other opportunities are also parts of the criteria for the preparation of the new plan.
Nasir Ahmad Durrani cited Afghanistan-specific crops, including pine nuts, saffron, cumin, Aloe Vera, and organic fresh and dried fruits as real and potential opportunities, adding the products now have a good international market.
Mr. Durrani said there is an investment opportunity of two billion USD in agriculture sector, adding that it is a good opportunity to attract the private sector.
Ajmal Ahmadi, acting minister of commerce and industries, said that some 60 percent of Afghan citizens are engaged in agriculture and agriculture accounts for about 30 percent of the country’s areas.
He further stated said that crops make up most of Afghanistan's exports. He added, however, that the country's exports and imports are unbalanced, with Afghanistan importing about seven billion USD annually and exporting nearly one billion USD. He cited business balance as the biggest problem.
Meanwhile Shakib Sharifi, general director of plan and programs at MAIL, said that at the end of the three-day conference, the roadmap for agricultural growth will be outlined. “The view of all participants will form the roadmap for agricultural growth,” he said. That is, we record all the views, and use them in the roadmap.
Abdul Hamed Helmandi, president senior advisor on agriculture and development, also said that Afghanistan has good capacity to grow and develop agriculture. According to him, there are still four million hectares of agricultural land left uncultivated, with 70 percent of its water draining.