FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific

Thousands of Afghan rice and potato farmers to benefit from improved irrigation and disease prevention systems

19/12/2015 Kabul, Afghanistan

The Government of Japan, through the technical assistance of the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation & Livestock (MAIL) of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, has announced a new project to boost agricultural livelihood production and resilience through improved irrigation management in Afghanistan.

The project will directly benefit some nine thousand farming families through increased rice production in the targeted provinces of Kunduz, Takhar and Baghlan. The project will also train 120 government officials in the Peace Medical Services (PMS) methodology in order to extend its applications to a larger community.

The Exchange Note, the US$ 12.3 million Grant Agreement and the Project Document titled “Enhancing Agriculture Production through Irrigation System Improvement and Strengthening Institutional Capacity” were signed during a ceremony at the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock (MAIL) by H. E. Assadullah Zamir, Minister of MAIL, Yasunari Morino, chargé d'affaires on behalf of the Ambassador of Japan, Eiichiro Cho, Representative of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and  the FAO Representative in Afghanistan, Tomio Shichiri.

Disease-free potato seeds

In addition to revitalizing irrigations systems, the project will focus on fighting diseases that affect potato production. Through the establishment of a functional tissue-culture laboratory, and training of MAIL staff in virus-free potato seed production, the project will contribute towards increasing potato seed production leading to more opportunities for decent work in the agriculture sector. Approximately 1.5 million people are expected to benefit from these activities over the longer term.

“Supporting the agriculture sector in Afghanistan is a key element in the country’s rehabilitation and development. This project focuses on agriculture growth which will play a significant role for the future development of Afghanistan,” said Morino. “We hope that this project will significantly support Afghanistan’s agriculture sector, and that the PMS irrigation method in Gamberi desert area in Nangarhar will take a lead as the best practice model to expand in this country, facilitating inter-ministerial coordination, for the success of the project”.

This project is comprised of three main outputs: 1) Rehabilitation of irrigation systems in rice growing areas of the three provinces; 2) Dissemination of Peace Medical Services (PMS) irrigation methods and training of government staff and farmers on PMS approaches through construction of training centers; and 3) Establishment of basic mechanisms and capacities for production of high quality virus free potato seeds.

The project will be implemented in synergy with other on-going programmes and projects supporting irrigation and extension sectors, as well as food security and nutrition policy in Afghanistan.

“Irrigation marks the difference between no food or abundant food. Performance of agriculture largely depend on water availability and access. Investment in irrigation and in agriculture provide a unique opportunity in Afghanistan to facilitate economic growth, increasing rural employment and enhance food security in rural areas,” said Assadullah Zamir, Afghanistan’s Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock (MAIL). “This support is in line with MAIL’s National Irrigation Programme, as well as with FAO’s Country Programme Framework (CPF). Development of irrigation in Afghanistan will continue to be a key priority to increase agriculture productivity and incomes and to support rural livelihoods.”

“We are extremely grateful to Japan for having steadily continued its support to Afghan farmers on the ground level,” said Shichiri. “Rice and potato are Afghanistan’s the most important crops, followed by wheat. These two crops have more potential for improving agriculture productivity and by creating larger opportunities for raising farmers’ incomes. Production of high quality virus-free potato seed will directly support efforts to export to neighboring countries, which thereby reduces rural poverty and builds resilience of communities in this country.” 



Embassy of Japan:
Mr. Nematullah NEMATI
Programme Officer
Email: [email protected]
Tel: +93(0)796 341 200

JICA Afghanistan:
Mr. Habib-Ur-Rahman NAEEMY
Senior Programme Offier
Email: [email protected]
Tel: +93-700-095505

FAO Afghanistan: 
Mr. Tomio Shichiri
FAO Representative in Afghanistan
Email: [email protected]
Tel: +93(0) 791 990 888

Mr. Mohammad Aqa
Assistant FAO Representative (Programme) in Afghanistan
Email: [email protected]
Tel: +93(0) 799668336

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