FAO in Afghanistan

FAO provide assistance to the Afghanistan Government (MAIL) to monitor and assess agriculture production systems in the country


Thursday 31 January Kabul, Afghanistan. The Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock (MAIL) convened the signing ceremony of the European Union (EU) funded project developed by Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), with target to provide assistance to the Afghan Government on the assessment of country agriculture production and scenario development.

The project has designed for three years with total budget of EUR 2 500 000, funded by European Union. The overall objective of the project is to improve monitoring and analysis of agricultural production systems to support agricultural policies and food security in the country.

The project, developed from FAO in accordance with the priorities of MAIL, to establish of the National Agro-Ecological Zoning and Land Resources Information Management System in Afghanistan to highly support agriculture policy and investment conditions to achieve sustainable agricultural development for food security, under climate change. The purpose of Agro Ecological Zoning (AEZ), as carried out for complex rural land-use planning, is to identify areas with similar sets of potentials and constraints for optimum land utilization for agriculture development. Following this, specific programs can be formulated in order to provide the most effective intervention to each AEZ and to pave the way for improved agricultural monitoring and crop estimation.

The establishment of National Agro-ecological Zoning (NAEZ) includes the analysis of land suitability and production gaps of varied crops under different scenarios (e.g. climate change, agricultural inputs, management intensity, etc.). This relies on the collation and integration of data on land, soil, water, crops, land utilization types, socio-economic, food security, vulnerability and impacts of climate change and development of adaptive management strategies relevant for production systems for the whole country. This follows FAO’s Global Agro-Ecological Zoning (GAEZ) methodology consistent with global standards.

Afghanistan has long been affected by a variety of natural disasters and complex political emergencies. In addition to the conflicts of the past 30 years, Afghanistan has been hit by devastating droughts and earthquakes, as well as floods, sandstorms and other natural hazards.

In the face of such complexity, the monitoring and analysis of agriculture production systems has become one of the priorities of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. This is due to a number of environmental trends which suggest an urgent need for a comprehensive, systematic and accurate agricultural monitoring system. More frequent extreme climate events such as floods, drought and frosts are adversely affecting agricultural production in Afghanistan.

The project will establish Land Resources Information Management System to guide policy-makers in developing appropriate policies and plans for various land uses (especially agriculture) and providing location-specific adaptation options for farmers. LRIMS provides central spatial database of evaluation of land-use suitability based on modular multiple criteria analysis-based assessment, including a Socio-Agricultural Vulnerability Assessment (SAVA). The existing FAO LRIMS system will be updated and simplified to enhance the tool’s existing modular functionality to run scenarios and generate products.

”This project aims to develop the monitoring and analyzing systems of land resources and also to study the proportionate specifications of land against the environmental risks at the local and national levels. This also intends to strengthen Afghanistan’s Institution’s capacity for assessing agriculture production and development. ”, said by H.E. Assadullah Zamir, Minister for MAIL.

''It is worth mentioning that monitoring of agricultural production and productivity will support and enhance food security, as well as provide livelihood opportunities to the farming community. In addition, the project will also contribute to climate changes mitigation at national level as well as at local level, and eventually contribute to the Government of Afghanistan’s Poverty Reduction Strategy.'', said by Mr. Maurizio CIAN Head of Cooperation, The EUROPEAN UNION Delegation to Afghanistan.

“The country has the potential to increase its output of cereals, fruits, nuts and vegetables and to develop supply chains for higher value-added products. However, the development of these supply chains will require investments to develop and improve practices and extension services and to build downstream agro-processing capacities. In the face of such complexity, the monitoring and analysis of agriculture production systems has become one of the priorities of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan." said by Mr. Tomio Shichiri, the FAO Representative in Afghanistan.

Farmers and government officials are the primary beneficiaries of the project. All stakeholders will benefit the agriculture monitoring system and robust capacity development programmes of the project.  In addition, the Irrigation, Research, Extension, Policy and Planning Directorates of MAIL are the key beneficiaries through improved capacity for agriculture monitoring, National Agro-Ecological Zones (NAEZ), Land Resources Information Management System (LRIMS) assessment and development of scenarios.

The project will be jointly implemented by MAIL and FAO with the cooperation and support of all the other stakeholders. EU, MAIL and FAO are the main stakeholders in the project.