26 May 2021
Development and relaunch of the Horticulture value chain Sector in Afghanistan
The international cooperation and therefore economic development is always a means of creating the conditions for peoples to live in peace. Especially when countries live a difficult transition between war and peace. Like Afghanistan in this moment.
In this regard, AGT International is working in Afghanistan, in collaboration with SIM (Società Italiana di Monitoraggio), a company based in Rome, on a project financed by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) for the Development and relaunch of the Horticulture value chain Sector. The project has a budget for Technical Assistance of 3.7 million USD and started in February 2020 with a duration of 6 years.
The ADB is considering a grant in the amount of 75 million USD to implement the project. The overall objective of the project is to improve production and value addition of horticultural products in 11 preselected provinces and includes Bamyan, Ghazni, Kabul, Khost, Kunar, Laghman, Logar, Nangarhar, Paktika, Paktya, and Wardak in the more secure areas of the country where the greatest potential exists for the production of export expansion and import substitution horticultural crops. Being a sector modality design, the focus of investment is on agro-business enterprises (horticultural traders, processors and packing operators) and on-farm improvements to increase quantity and quality of priority horticultural produce to these enterprises.
The situation in Afghanistan is very difficult. US and NATO soldiers have started leaving Afghanistan over the past weeks. President Joe Biden promised all troops will be gone by September 2021, exactly 20 years after the 11th September attacks that triggered the fight against the Taliban.
Ten years ago AGT International worked in Afghanistan on the same issues (horticultural crops), always in collaboration with SIM.
For the new program the project manager of AGT is Luca Del Monaco. All the input from international experts so far has been remote. There is a team of local experts who then implement the activities suggested by international experts.
The project specific objectives are: (i) to provide technical assistance and support for the enhancement of fruit propagation of the main ‘nucleus’ government fruits, nuts, tree nurseries and support a selection of strategically located private commercial nurseries throughout the country. (ii) to provide immediate assistance in improving the quality of marketed vegetables through best crop management practices in selected private nurseries located in peri-urban and main commercial vegetable production areas and strengthen links with market. (iii) to improve post-harvest handling of horticultural crops and boost the marketing of promising commercial products through the empowerments of agribusiness enterprises including producers, horticultural traders, processors and packaging operators. (iv) to assist the Government in further strategic planning for medium- and long-term sustainable development of the horticultural crops (fruit, nuts, and vegetables).
The project will also provide resources for its second output that will include (i) adaptive research, (ii) commodity marketing, (iii) international quality standards and certification, and (iv) capacity building for farmers, traders, and Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock (MAIL) staff (including technical fellowships).