The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) brought together 160 agricultural stakeholders from the Kabul region today to discuss new production and export activities in Afghanistan’s agricultural sector and to plant the seed for business deals between farmers and traders.
Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock, Mohammad Asif Rahimi (center) speaks at the USAID regional meeting on strengthening Afghanistan’s agricultural sector in Kabul.
Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock Mohammad Asif Rahimi, Kabul Governor Ahmadullah Alizai, Kabul Director of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock Hashmatullah Enayat, and Kabul Provincial Council Chairperson Nisaruddin Baryali participated in the event, which was held at the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock (MAIL). They were joined by the heads of major agricultural projects and organizations such as USAID’s Accelerating Sustainable Agriculture Program (ASAP), the Horticulture and Livestock Project, and the Export Promotion Agency for Afghanistan. The event included business-to-business meetings between Afghan buyers and sellers.
“The quality of our products needs to be remarkably high because it is the top-quality produce that will have tremendous selling potential,” Minister Rahimi told the audience, highlighting the vast potential of Afghanistan’s agriculture sector as well as MAIL and USAID efforts to introduce Good Agricultural Practices, improved quality and food safety to Afghanistan.
Through ASAP, USAID holds these regional meetings that bring together Afghan government officials, the heads of donor-funded agricultural productivity projects, local business people, farmers, and herders throughout Afghanistan to increase coordination and to forge business deals. In close coordination with the MAIL, USAID has held regional meetings in 2011 in Panjsher, Balkh, and Wardak provinces and plans to hold similar missions in Hirat, Nangarhar, Kandahar, and Logar.
ASAP, which has been operating since late 2006, works to strengthen the agricultural sector in Afghanistan through activities that range from working with farmers in the field to improve their productivity, to bringing Afghan businesspeople on commercial missions to place Afghan produce in international markets. To date, Afghan farmers, traders and exporters have seen an increase of more than $50 million in sales and exports of Afghan produce with the support of USAID.