EU project to monitor Afghan agri system signed
KABUL (Pajhwok): The signing ceremony of a European Union (EU)-funded project, aimed at assisting the Afghan government to assess agriculture production systems and to strengthen institutional capacity, was convened by the Afghan Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock Ministry (MAIL) in Kabul on Tuesday.
A statement from the EU special representative and head of EU delegation to Afghanistan said the 2.5 million Euros project has been developed by the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization FAO).
Designed for three years, the overall objective of the project is to improve monitoring and analysis of agricultural production systems to support agricultural policies and food security in the country.
Keeping in view MAIL’s priorities, the National Agro-Ecological Zoning and Land Resources Information Management System will be established in Afghanistan to highly support agriculture policy and investment conditions to achieve sustainable agricultural development for food security, under climate change.
The purpose of AEZ, as carried out for complex rural land-use planning, is to identify areas with similar sets of potentials and constraints for optimum land utilization for agriculture development.
Then specific programs can be formulated in order to provide the most effective intervention to each AEZ and to pave the way for improved agricultural monitoring and crop estimation.
The establishment of National Agro-ecological Zoning (NAEZ) includes the analysis of land suitability and production gaps of varied crops under different scenarios (e.g. climate change, agricultural inputs, management intensity, etc.
The EU-funded project will establish Land Resources Information Management System to guide policy-makers in developing appropriate policies and plans for various land uses (especially agriculture) and providing location-specific adaptation options for farmers.
LRIMS provides central spatial database of evaluation of land-use suitability based on modular multiple criteria analysis-based assessment, including a Socio-Agricultural Vulnerability Assessment (SAVA).
The existing FAO LRIMS system will be updated and simplified to enhance the tool’s existing modular functionality to run scenarios and generate products.
”This project aims to develop the monitoring and analyzing systems of land resources and also to study the proportionate specifications of land against the environmental risks at the local and national levels,” MAIL minister Assadullah Zamir said.
He said the project also intended to strengthen Afghanistan’s Institution’s capacity for assessing agriculture production and development.
Maurizio CIAN, head of cooperation at EU Delegation, said Afghanistan remained one of the most vulnerable countries to climate change.
He said environmental degradation would have a negative effect on overall agriculture sector in Afghanistan, calling for attention to linkages between agriculture development, water management, renewable energy and food security.
“The country has the potential to increase its output of cereals, fruits, nuts and vegetables and to develop supply chains for higher value-added products,” said Tomio Shichiri, FAO representative in Afghanistan.
He said the development of supply chains would require investments to develop and improve practices and extension services and to build downstream agro-processing capacities.
“In the face of such complexity, the monitoring and analysis of agriculture production systems has become one of the priorities of the Afghan government,” he said.
Farmers and government officials are the primary beneficiaries of the project. All stakeholders will benefit the agriculture monitoring system and robust capacity development programmes of the project.
In addition, the Irrigation, Research, Extension, Policy and Planning Directorates of MAIL are the key beneficiaries through improved capacity for agriculture monitoring, National Agro-Ecological Zones (NAEZ), Land Resources Information Management System (LRIMS) assessment and development of scenarios.
The project will be jointly implemented by MAIL and FAO with cooperation and support of all other stakeholders. EU, MAIL and FAO are main stakeholders in the project.
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