Dry weather and poor irrigation reduce cereal output in Afghanistan
A record cereal import requirement of over 1.1 million tonnes will be needed to meet domestic demand. Growth in the private sector economy, cash crop production and cross-border trade have allowed Afghanistan to increase its cereal import capacity by about one-third over last year to around 800 000 tonnes. Food aid will have to cover the deficit of 323 000 tonnes. So far, less than 100 000 tonnes of emergency food is in the pipeline to Afghanistan, leaving a shortfall of well over 200 000 tonnes.
The shortage of rainfall has placed an impossible burden on Afghanistan's irrigation facilities, which have been severely damaged by years of civil conflict. The country has recently enjoyed a period of relative peace, permitting some repairs to be made to the country's irrigation infrastucture. However, urgent assistance is still required to improve Afghani farmers' access to water. The Mission reports that the international community could contribute greatly to increasing local self-sufficiency in Afghanistan by supporting community-based irrigation improvement projects.
13 July 1999