FAO in Afghanistan

FAO and Japan Building Peace and Saving Lives Through Water Management


23 April 2018, Behsoud, Nangahar: An opening ceremony for a training center and accommodation facilities was held near the Miran Intake in the Behsoud district of Nangarhar province by the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock (MAIL), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and Peace Medical Service (PMS: Japanese NGO). The event was attended by the Provincial Governor, His Excellency Mohammad Gulab Mangal; the Nangarhar Provincial Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock (PAIL) Director; the Nangarhar Valley Development Authority (NVDA) Director; Provincial Council members and representatives of other government departments; the Behsoud District Governor; and several local community elders.

These buildings were constructed by PMS Japan and funded by the Government of Japan/ Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), and under an FAO project aimed at improving agriculture production by improving irrigation systems and related institutional capacity. The buildings are being used for trainings about the PMS Approach, which is a community-based approach that puts users at the center of all stages of irrigation development. This means that the community members are directly involved in making the decisions in the process of designing and building the new irrigation and water use structures. The approach focuses in arid areas and develops irrigation facilities such as river water intakes, canal systems, sediment ponds, canal gates, and other structures so that stable water supplies can be maintained, even during droughts.

Using this approach, PMS has already converted more than 15,000 ha of desert land into green fields in Nangarhar. Having reliable access to water has not only improved the health and nutrition of the area, but it has also led to prosperity in the region and contributed to harmonious co-existence and peace-building in this area.

Speaking on the occasion, HE the Provincial Governor said, “I really don’t have enough words of appreciation with which to thank Dr. Nakamura, the Government of Japan, and the FAO, for all that they have done for Nangarhar. As all of you can now see, the Gamberi area - which was once a desert -  is now an are filled with greenery. Dr. Nakamura has truly earned a place in the hearts of the people and farming communities of Nangarhar. Hence, I express my whole-hearted support to him.” The Nangarhar PAIL Director also said thanked the donor, FAO and PMS for constructing these buildings, and noted that they will be very useful for training community members, mirabs, and irrigation engineers from Nangarhar as well as provinces.

Mr. Tomio Shichiri, the FAO Representative in Afghanistan thanked all community members, government official and the Government of Japan for the support and said, “I am very pleased with the achievements made so far on the dissemination of the PMS mthod. It is an integrated approach that involves community’s ownership and has been able to produce impact on food security and community stabilization in the area”.

After the inaugural speeches, the handover notes were signed by the Provincial Governor and representatives from FAO, PAIL, NVDA and PMS. The representatives then officially cut the ribbon and entered the classroom, where and Dr. Nakamura delivered an introductory presentation on the PMS Approach to the trainees, local authorities, local NGOs, and the FAO. Once a cadre of PMS Approach trainers are developed, they will hopefully be able to spread this holistic approach to irrigation and community cooperation to all drought-prone parts of Afghanistan.