Afghanistan: bigger harvests from drylands

February 12, 2012 at 7:32 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Researchers, extension experts and farmers work together to identify new technologies for rainfed agriculture

Rainfed areas – which cover half of Afghanistan’s cropland – hold the key to national food security. How to improve water-use efficiency in agriculture, how to promote new high-yielding crop varieties, how to build R&D capacity? Researchers, extension experts and policy makers from seven provinces in Afghanistan gathered at the National workshop on dryland agriculture, Kabul, 16-17 January, to discuss these questions.

Speaking at the workshop H.E. Mr. Asif Rahimi, Minister of Agriculture, said, “For us, it is a beginning, but our neighbors are already receiving the dividends from research in dryland agriculture. We look forward to even stronger collaboration with our international partners, particularly with ICARDA.”

The workshop, organized by the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock (MAIL) in cooperation with ICARDA, and AusAID, was a follow up to the first International Dryland Workshop held in December 2010, which helped redefine the priorities of the Agriculture Ministry. MAIL and its partners have made rapid progress since then. MAIL has established a Dryland Farming Unit in Kabul, with an 8-hectare plot for research, demonstration and training. ICARDA helped plan and implement this initiative, and is supporting demonstration trials on drought-resistant food crops, forages, and water harvesting technologies. The Center is also involved in MAIL’s new Food for Life program, in which dryland agriculture will be a major component.

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