By Farhad Naibkhel
KABUL: Twelve agro-industrial plants will start operation soon in order to standardize Afghan farmers’ products in accordance to international markets standards.
The agro-processing industry will maximize the profit of farmers. The units will handle the tasks of processing and packaging.
Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock (MAIL) signed an agreement with Agro-Indust, an Afghan company, on operation of process and packing center. The project is funded by the Asian Development Bank.
“Standardization of agriculture products, researching market and supplying farmers’ products to market on time is the top priority of Ministry of Agriculture,” said Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock Asadullah Zamir. He said that MAIL has taken steps to develop agriculture industry.
In Afghanistan, number of Afghans facing severe food insecurity has increased from 4.7 percent to 5.9 percent According to the country’s Food Security and Agriculture Cluster (FSAC), over 1.5 million people are considered severely food insecure, an increase of more than 317,000. “Another 7.3 million people—more than one in every four Afghans—are classed as moderately food insecure,” a report of FSAC said.
The minister said that MAIL would exert utmost efforts to pave the ground for private sector investment in agriculture sector.
He said that today’s contract for operation of process center is a step toward mechanization and standardization of agriculture products.
“The 12 processing and packing centers will operate in Kabul, Nangarhar, Paktia, Kunduz and Balkh provinces. Each center will have the capacity to process seven tons of agriculture products on daily basis,” he claimed.
He said that the centers would collect, wash, grade, process, and market the products.
“Purchasing and collecting agriculture products will be key duties of the processing center. The farmers’ products will be purchased at reasonable price in order to bring positive change in farmers’ lives.”
Private sector cooperation in agriculture sector will help Afghanistan to embark on the journey toward self-sufficiency, he mentioned.
Head of Agro-Indust, Parwiz Khalil, said that by implementation of this agreement a fruitful step would be taken for standardizing Afghan farmers’ products.
He said that his company would try its best to operate honestly and work hard for improving quality of agriculture products across the country. The chief of the company vowed to hold efforts to export Afghanistan’s dry and fresh fruits to India, Russia and the United Arab Emirates.