Afghanistan: Launch of National Strategy on Women in Agriculture Development

Afghanistan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock (MAIL) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations have this week launched a “National Strategy on Women in Agriculture Development”.


The Strategy document was signed by H. E. Assadullah Zamir, Minister for MAIL and Tomio Shichiri, FAO Representative in Afghanistan. It was developed as part of the project, “Strengthening the Role of Women in Agriculture Development,” funded by the Government of Germany, and jointly implemented by MAIL’s Home Economy Department and FAO, which place women as central to all of their agricultural interventions. 

The Strategy was developed at the request of the Minister who acknowledged that “women are key, not only to ensuring increased agricultural production, but also for improving food and nutrition security.” The Strategy forms an integral part of the Minister’s ‘first 100 days’ work plan and is driven by the Home Economy Directorate of MAIL and FAO, based on their experiences in promoting women’s contributions in the agricultural sector, and complemented by primary data collected from different stakeholders.

Women’s participation in agriculture critical to better nutrition

Women account for nearly 43 percent of the Afghan agricultural labour force and so the Strategy will review the existing situation of women in the sector while planning to identify the key inequalities and constraints they face in the country’s system of food production. In particular, it will focus on accessing productive resources for increasing women’s productivity and for the achievement of food and nutrition security, both at the household and national levels. The Strategy is therefore designed to bridge the productivity differentials between male and female farmers and help the latter overcome the production constraints they face, leading to significantly increased agricultural growth and output.

The Strategy also focuses on the crucial contribution of women in natural resource management as about 70 percent of women are directly or indirectly involved in a wide range of agricultural activities that are dependent on natural resources. Yet here too they are underrepresented in natural resource management committees and user groups.

“It’s important to recognize and be aware of the vulnerability of women in agriculture and natural resource management, while understanding the importance of their increased contributions to these sectors,” said FAO Representative to Afghanistan, Tomio Shichiri. “By supporting women with skills and knowledge to access resources and markets they will be able to address food insecurity at household level, and therefore help strengthen food security nationwide.”

The Strategy will recommend priority interventions that would provide an enabling environment for the empowerment of women in the sectors, while strengthening the institutional and individual capacity of MAIL to deliver efficient and effective services.


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