FAO in Afghanistan

Project inception workshop on Enhancing Agriculture Production through Irrigation System Improvement


Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation & Livestock (MAIL) of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan have conducted the project Inception Workshop on enhancing agriculture production through irrigation system improvement and strengthening institutional capacity at Pamir Hall of MAIL. The overall objective of the project is to increase agriculture production and productivity of the project area. The project aims to improve irrigation services and develop functional tissue cultural laboratory for virus free potato seed production.

Lack of appropriate water control infrastructures is one of the major problems in irrigation system of Afghanistan. Without such infrastructures, adequacy, reliability and timeliness of irrigation water services cannot be secured. This, in turn, largely affects crop production. Similarly, potato is the third major staple crop in Afghanistan. However, lack of quality seeds have been a major constraint to potato production.

"This project is significantly important for the government of Afghanistan and the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation & Livestock (MAIL) and a primary mandate" , Said by H.E. Jawad Abdul Qader, Deputy Minister for MAIL,. "The project is a unique opportunity in Afghanistan to facilitate economic growth, increasing rural employment and enhance food security in rural areas. The Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation & Livestock intents to bring all irrigation projects under the National Irrigation Programme (NIP) and directly supporting irrigation department of MAIL.

This shared project reflects government priority, increase key crops in rice-growing areas of Kunduz, Takhar and Baghlan provinces and brings food security for thousands of people and formers." Said by H.E. Ahmad Shaheer Shahriar, Deputy Minister of MRRD. "The project will also contribute on capacity development of government staff and farmers on PMS approach through construction of training center, I welcomed the establishment of this Training Centre."

"Japan has historically accumulated knowledge and expertise on agriculture, and it is embodied in "Green Ground Project" for upgrading irrigation systems and reviving an Afghan farming community in Nangarhar," Said by H.E. Mr. Yasunari Morino, chargé d'affaires ad interim of the Embassy of Japan. H.E. Mr. Yasunari Morino, chargé d'affaires ad interim of the Embassy of Japan. "It has become what we call "the miracle of Gamberi" also with hardworking of Afghan local residents and their expertise. I wish that "the miracle of Gamberi" will be duplicated in other places in Afghanistan through good coordination of MAIL, FAO, JICA and other stakeholders so that local people can benefit."

"Drawing on the lessons learned from other similar projects implemented by FAO and Ministries, the proposed project intends to reinforce FAO's ongoing efforts of expanding irrigation service delivery in the country," Said Mr. Tomio Shichiri, the FAO Representative in Afghanistan. "It will particularly target the major rice growing provinces such as Kunduz, Takhar and Baghlan because rice crop has more potential for development, besides the fact that it takes large share of irrigation water leaving less for other crops." "As an output, upon completion of the necessary irrigation infrastructures, the project is intended to produce 7,000 metric tons of additional rice per year."

"As Afghanistan economy is heavily depended on agriculture and irrigated crops is the main source of income for families," said by Ms. Yukiko Kikuchi, JICA Representative in Afghanistan. "On the other hand the current irrigation systems are sometimes very old and vulnerable to the big changes of weather and climate. Farmers cannot get enough water though the country considerably big water resources. It is quite logical to invest on rehabilitation of irrigation infrastructure and improve the irrigation practices of farmers. Due to this gap the government of Japan is committed to support this project and JICA Afghanistan undertakes the responsibility on behalf of Japan government to closely work with FAO, GoIRA and other partners for smooth implementation of the project."

This project with the total budge of US$ 12.3 million will contribute to addressing these different constraints. It will also directly benefit some nine thousand (9000) farming families through increased rice production in the targeted provinces of Kunduz, Takhar and Baghlan. From its third year, it will also ensure production of 13 ton of virus-free breeder and foundation seeds of potato. The project will also train about 120 government officials about the Peace Medical Services (PMS) methodology in order to extend its applications to a larger community. The project will be jointly implemented by FAO with the cooperation of all the other stakeholders.

The main objective of the Inception Workshop was to disseminate information about the project and collect feedback to further refine the institutional arrangements and implementation modality of the project. The workshop was divided into three sessions: opening session, introduction session and feedback and discussion session. Views of the high level authorities in the form of opening remarks were received during the opening session. The participants were introduced to the three outputs of the project during the second session while fruitful discussions were held during the third session to collect valuable feedback from the participants for further fine-tuning the project activities.