MAP 1. Active and non-active research stations in Afghanistan
Twenty-eight research stations were covered by the survey, sixteen of which are presently either active in research or in other agricultural activities. The data collected give the exact location and altitude of the research stations, land size, type of prevailing soil and the condition of the irrigation system. It also included information on the main crops grown and the type of ongoing and past technical assistance received from UN agencies.
Figure 1 shows the altitude of the research stations, 40 percent of which are above 1 500 a.s.l. The average size of the research stations is 322 jeribs (64 ha) (see Figure 2). The largest research station is located in Turnak, having 5 800 jeribs (1 160 ha).
FIGURE 2. Size of active research stations (in jeribs) in Afghan districts (February 2003)
Drought was the main limiting factor in the last four years for about 40 percent of the research stations.
The research station in Faizabad located in Badakshan Province is the only one that was affected by floods within the last five years.
As Figure 3 below indicates, the main crop grown at the stations is cereal (wheat), followed by fruit trees and vegetables.
FIGURE 3. Main crops grown in Afghan research stations (February 2003)
Nucleus fruit nurseries represent the main centres of fruit tree multiplication and distribution in the country. The general status of each nursery was assessed, the irrigation system was monitored, and estimates were provided on all different fruit tree species, varieties, the number of trees and their condition.
There are 11 nucleus fruit nurseries in Afghanistan, all of which are located on government land. In the past, all of these nurseries received technical assistance from FAO. Now, the Afghanistan Government with the assistance of FAO intends to re-launch the activities of fruit training and propagation in some of these nucleus nurseries.
The survey indicates the following:
The nucleus fruit nurseries represent the main centres of in-situ germplasm fruit tree collection in their respective provinces and are the main distribution source to the private satellite fruit nurseries for improved fruit trees.
Each nucleus fruit nursery has a mother plant collection block and is generally divided into tree blocks - rootstock, budwood and stock plant block, the latter of which is inaccurately named locally as "sapling block".
The most common species in the nurseries are apricots, apples and plums, the former of which also has the highest genetic diversity. The collection of indigenous varieties is wide and most of them are still considered valuable by growers.
Seventy percent of the nurseries have mechanized power (four-wheel tractors).
The drought severely affected 55 percent of the nurseries in the past four years with a 30-40 percent loss of fruit trees (Figure 5).
The nucleus fruit nurseries are located at different altitudes to cover the different agroclimatic conditions from north to south and west to east (Figure 4). They therefore include a wide range of temperate fruit tree species and varieties in their collections.
FIGURE 4. The altitude of Afghan nucleus nurseries (m)
FIGURE 5. Natural disasters and manmade calamities that affected the Afghan nucleus nurseries from 1997 to 2002 (in percentage of responses)
Furrow irrigation is the most common system used.
Paghman District (Kabul Province) is the only one with a karez. The others use canals or deep wells.
The nucleus fruit nursery in Nangarhar Province also includes sub-tropical species, such as guava and loquats.
Two nucleus fruit nurseries, in Balkh (Mazar) and in Kandahar (Arghandab), are not presently active due to civil unrest and drought.
The two nucleus fruit nurseries of Kunar Province have the highest number of fruit tree species in their collections, 15 species in Asad Abad and 13 in the Asmar District (see Map 2).
MAP 2. Number of fruit species in the nucleus nurseries/district
Gazara District in Hirat Province has the highest number of indigenous grape varieties (32) and is the only one with a collection of wild pistachio landraces.
The nucleus fruit nursery in Khwaja Omari District has the richest collection of indigenous varieties of apricot (17) and plum (7) (see Map 3).
MAP 3. Nucleus nurseries/districts with the highest number of indigenous varieties of apricot
Loquat and orange exotic varieties are available in the Matun District (Central Bagh nursery) in Khost Province.
Mitharlam has a valuable collection of indigenous varieties of fig and pomegranate. Exotic varieties of other fruit species also represent a high portion of available genetic material in the district.
Gozara District in Hirat Province is the main collection centre for exotic varieties of apples, pears, apricots and plums.
The district nurseries of Mitharlam, followed by Asada Abad and Gozara, have the highest number of exotic almond varieties (five). A valuable citrus (orange and lemon) collection of exotic varieties is also present in the Beshood nursery in Jalalabad.
Despite the recent civil unrest and drought, 62 percent of the private fruit nurseries are still active (see Map 4). Results of the survey include:
Wardak is the province with the highest presence of active private fruit nurseries, followed in order by Farah, Hirat and Paktika.
The average size of the private fruit nurseries is 1.5 jeribs (.3 ha), and they occupy 17 percent of the farmland.
Most of the private fruit nurseries include a rootstock block, budwood block and stock plant block. However, due to inefficient crop management, the condition of trees is poor and skilled technicians are very scarce.
Almond is largely grown in the Ghazni and Wardak Provinces (see Map 9). Paktika is the main centre for the production of almond landraces.
Apple is the most common species grown in the nurseries (see map 10). Paktika Province has the highest number of exotic apple trees in the stock plant block. It is the most important fruit tree in Wardak, as shown by the total number of trees (3 500) in the stock plant block of the six private nurseries.
Apricot is by far the most common species of the indigenous varieties grown by the private nurseries. The nurseries in Paktika and Ghazni produced the highest number of trees.
Regarding the indigenous varieties of grape, the main centre of grape production is in Farah Province (see Map 7).
The only source of local varieties of guava, loquat, persimmon, figs and mulberry is found in Nangarhar Province.
Peach is grown intensively in the private nurseries of Hirat and Paktika, the latter producing the highest number of exotic varieties (see Map 6).
The main centre of plum production is in Hirat; nine landraces are commonly grown in these nurseries.
MAP 4. Number of active private fruit nurseries per province
MAP 5. Number of local varieties of apricot in the private nurseries/provinces
MAP 6. Province/private nurseries having species with the highest number of local varieties
MAP 7. Province/private nurseries with the highest number of trees (local varieties) in the stock plant block
MAP 8. Number of trees with the highest number of exotic varieties in the stock plant block of private nurseries/province
MAP 9. Number of trees of exotic varieties of almond in the stock plant block of private nurseries/province
MAP 10. Number of apple trees (exotic varieties) in the stock plant block of private nurseries/province
 A jerib is 2 000 square
metres, or one-fifth the size of a hectare.|