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MAIL kicks off program to promote women’s role in agriculture

By Akhtar M.Nikzad-KABUL: The Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock (MAIL) in collaboration with five universities of the United States launched a scheme to promote women’s role in the agricultural sector through training programs.  The scheme was launched in Kabul, Balkh, Parwan, Nangarhar and Kapisa provinces.

The training programs include methods of vegetable gardening, livestock management and apiculture.

The Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock (MAI), Assadullah Zamir, visited agriculture farms of female farmers in Silkworm Farm in Darulaman.

Tens of female farmers are being trained in the farm to learn modern methods of farming, kitchen gardening, livestock production activities, and techniques of beekeeping.

Zamir said that the training program for women was started a few years ago and hundreds of female farmers have received trainings so far.

He added that the main purpose of the scheme was to encourage women in rural areas to play their role in agriculture sector to improve economy of their families.

He estimated that women farmers comprise 40 to 45 percent of agriculture labor force in Afghanistan. “Around 80 female farmers have cultivated different vegetables in 80 acres of land in the Silkworm Farm to teach modern farming methods to university students and other women,” Zamir said.

He vowed that the MAIL will explore different ways to promote women’s role in the agriculture sector.

He said that economic growth of the country was not possible without improvement of agriculture sector.

Head of the Silkworm Farm, Muhammad Saleem, said that at first 25 agriculture experts teach the female farmers new methods of farming through lectures, and then they start teaching them practically how to cultivate. “In some cases the newly trained farmers transfer their newly gained skills to around 12 other women in their respective areas,” he added.

He said that the scheme was launched in 2012 and will continue till 2017.

An employee of the MAIL in the farm said: “When women are empowered, they can claim their rights and access to land, leadership and opportunities and choices, economies grow, food security is enhanced and prospects are improved for current and future generations.”

She said the rural women depend on natural resources and agriculture to provide the livelihoods; hence, promotion of agricultural by women is a significant step that can help the families’ incomes.

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