March 22, Kabul, Afghanistan – On the First day of every solar year, when the Sun returns to the same position in seasons’ cycle, Afghans celebrate National Farmers’ Day. This year, the government organized an agricultural expo at the Badam Bagh research farm in northwestern Kabul.
The expo provided an opportunity for hundreds of farmers to display their products and equipment and trade them with one another. They also exchanged innovative ideas and technologies. It was an opportunity for the farming communities, policymakers, entrepreneurs, and institutions to interact. It also served as a leading trade show, helping to boost investment for Afghanistan’s top-quality agricultural products.
ICARDA showcased its new technologies using a booth together with the “Community Livestock and Agriculture Project” (or “CLAP”) supported by the UN’s International Fund for Agricultural Development and the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation, and Livestock. Farmers, entrepreneurs, and government officials visited the booth, including Minister of Agriculture Ahmad Durani and Minister of rural Rehabilitation and Development Mujeb Rahman Karimi.
“We will build new cold storage facilities and irrigation networks to support our farmers this year,” said Minister Durani. “In order to enhance agricultural production, we will build 257 irrigation networks in 30 provinces,” he explained.
ICARDA’s goal was to raise awareness on nutrition for women and children, and the importance of women’s empowerment through agro-entrepreneurship. ICARDA displayed five kinds of nutritious dishes made from chickpea, lentil, mung bean, potato, and onion, in order to show that nutritious foods can be prepared using locally available sources.
Additionally, ICARDA showcased newly developed and released improved seeds. It also demonstrated innovative technologies, including conservation agriculture and watershed-based technologies. It made available technical reports, posters, and factsheets.
“In Afghanistan, agriculture has not been mechanized. Production will increase, if things can be mechanized,” said Hameed Helmandi, senior adviser to President Ashraf Ghani.