By Farhad Naibkhel-KABUL: To improve agricultural productivity and profitability, Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock (MAIL) has laid foundation stone of 13 agricultural laboratories here on Tuesday.
Construction of the laboratories will complete within next one year at a total cost of one million USD, provided by the World Bank (WB).
After construction, the laboratories will have a great impact on the poverty alleviation and food security in the country while improving crop production.
The modern agricultural laboratories will help the farmers to control plant diseases and enhance fertility of soil. The laboratories will diagnose diseases, restore and improve fertility of soil and prevent alien plant invasion, the deputy minister for agriculture, Mir Amanuddin Haidari, said.
Speaking at the ceremony, he said that farmers have lost one-third of their harvest due to different diseases across the country.
Use of chemicals in farms also has side effects on harvest and soil. MAIL is trying best to follow the international standards and reduce use of chemicals in the farms, he added.
Pitching for greater use of research and modern methods for boosting the agriculture sector, the deputy minister said that in order to help farmers to have access to approved and quality pesticides and fertilizers construction of such laboratories was necessary in the country.
He said that after establishment of the laboratories, the labs would introduce pesticides and fertilizers to farmers that would improve crop production while having no side effect.
Speaking about the melon farms affected by diseases in the over past two years, he said that due to insecurity and absence of control mechanism the ministry failed to prevent spread of some plant diseases.
“These laboratories will help us to control the diseases on time. Earlier, when the test and analysis reports were sent abroad it cost much. The laboratories will resolve this problem,” he said.
The deputy minister vowed to hire qualified and professional staff for the laboratories. He added that a group of people who were trained abroad would return to Afghanistan and work in the 13 laboratories. He said that another group would be sent abroad for training in the near future.
In September 2015, MAIL in cooperation with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations kicked off a national strategy on women’s contribution in agriculture development.
The strategy was signed by the Ministry of MAIL, Assadullah Zamir, and Tomio Shichiri, representative of FAO in Afghanistan. Launching of the strategy was aimed at strengthening the role of women in agriculture development and improvement of families’ food security.
Assadullah Zamir said that it is a five-year strategy which will be implemented in three stages across the country. He said that the purpose of the strategy is to empower women and improve food security.
“Women account for nearly 40 percent of the agriculture labor force in Afghanistan and the strategy will review the current contribution of women in the sector,” he added.
He stressed that agricultural development can lead to economic growth, adding that women by learning new techniques of farming can play a key role in improving economy of their families.