By Akhtar M.Nikzad-KABUL: Hinting to the droughts and decreasing agricultural products, President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani on Saturday pledged to bring water management by putting restrictions to water flow in order to improve agricultural productions through irrigation system.
Addressing the fourth promotion and development of agriculture conference in Kabul, Ghani said that it was responsibility of the government to control the flowing waters to the neighboring countries.
He said that it has been for centuries that Afghanistan’s water flowing to the neighboring countries and Afghanistan could not utilize water for utmost advantage to improve agricultural sectors.
“We are responsible to hold waters as soon as possible because without management of waters. Afghanistan will neither become self-sufficient in term of economy and nor reach a durable stability,” he added.
He further went on saying that every year the seasonal floods inflict one billion dollars loss in the country as unmanaged rivers damage thousands of acres of agricultural lands every year.
“We plan to build 21 new dams to control water flow and through that we could also expand thousands of agricultural land.”
Terming agricultural challenge as one of serious issues, the president ordered Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock (MAIL) to draft a plan how to promote and develop domestic productions.
Afghanistan imports around 600,000 tons of wheat from neighboring countries and spends millions of dollars for purchasing foodstuff while it is an agricultural country and has tremendous potentials for productions.
According to a survey, Afghanistan has the capacity of 57 billion cubic meters of surface water and 18 billion cubic meter groundwater with five river resources and 36 sub-river ones.
It said that Afghanistan has the lowest storage capacity in the region to protect its outflow of water from wastage, population growth, economic development; urbanization and improving lifestyles as well as climate change as the major factors to increase demands and decline water.
Climate change is melting the snow sources on the mountains that will result serious droughts and accelerate floods.
Agriculture Minister Assadulah Zamir said that in the past 14 years the ministry had no plans to encourage farmers and to develop agricultural sectors.
He said that the ministry has drafted a plan aimed at development and promotion of agricultural products.
Deputy Head of Chamber of Commerce and Industries Khan Jan Alokozai said that domestic products still face different challenges. He termed lack of laboratories and cold storages to keep fruit and vegetables fresh as biggest challenge in front of farmers activates.