Strenghtening Afghanistan Institutions' capacity for the Assessment of Agriculture Production and Scenario Development

Provincial Agroecological Zoning Firsthand Experience and Launch of Agroclimatic ATLAS in Eastern Zone


Under the EU-funded project “Strengthening Afghanistan Institutions capacity for the Assessment of Agriculture Production and Scenarios Development” the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in close collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation, and Livestock (MAIL) has supported the Provincial and District Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock Offices of Nangarhar, Kunar and Laghman provinces on skills and capacity building through on the job training on Provincial Agroecological Zoning & GIS/RS and launch of Agro-climatic ATLAS.


This training workshops helped develop technical skills of government counterparts in developing more efficient and sustainable agricultural systems to feed the future, to formulate policies and strategies for sustainable and diversified use of natural resources and investments to harness production potential and enhance agricultural efficiency through better planning for climate-smart agriculture. The long-term impact of the workshop is to enable government and associated stakeholders to adapt to the unique zonal requirements and amend cropping systems according to water availability, soil and climatic conditions and market demands. This includes land characteristics, topography, land use, soil, water analyses, weather and climate, yield, and profitability that will lead to making recommendations towards “what” should be grown “where” and “when”. Agro-Climatic Atlas developed by the project having detailed information of fifty climate parameters, climate classification, and projected climate change for 100 years was presented and launched in the presence of PAIL and DAIL staff.

The National Agro-Ecological Zoning data and information generated in the form of maps and spreadsheets were practiced with PAIL and DAIL staff and most of the participants got enough hands on experience to use these information. Basic training was given to the participants on GIS and Remote Sensing and the participants were able at the end to work with GIS raster and vector formats. Participants were trained on the methodology to develop land cover maps using GIS, and  Land Cover Map for each province was prepared by the participants themselves as a test at the end. All the four outputs of the project were explained in great detail, and through Q&A sessions PAIL and DAIL staff were explained why and how the project was implemented, what the results are and how these results can be used in planning. The generated information on crop suitability, soil suitability new zoning, climate classification, irrigated areas zones, rainfed zones, and length of growing period zones were also presented in detail and explained to the participants.

The Director of PAIL Nangarhar said that this capacity building program will assist eastern zone in solving many challenges including food insecurity, agro-ecological zoning, climate change preparedness, identifying water availability, soil suitability, measuring crop water requirements and the potential of agriculture land. Another participant expressed that “Data is money” and with good data one can take decisions for better implementation of the projects and help farmers become food secure.

The Director of PAIL Laghman quoted that previously he had data for the province, however the data were not accurate due to which many issues were faced while planning.  National Agroecological Zoning data and ATLAS will now fill in the data gaps to be used for better planning.

PAIL Director of Kunar said that such workshops are fundamental for agriculture sector and explained that the main reason of lack of development of the sector as compared to other countries is  due to lack of agriculture profile or agro-ecological zoning.