While Afghanistan Agriculture faces enormous challenges, it bears huge potentials for improvement. Improving the productivity in Agriculture and proper market development is an important National Priority of the Government of Afghanistan. Introduction of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) by the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock (MAIL) as an important strategy for sustainable crop production and protection is an important step forward on this.
Being a member of the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC), Afghanistan is highly committed to reduce the use of harmful chemical pesticides in agriculture, including illegal trades of all harmful chemicals in the country. Through introducing Farmer Field Schools (FFS) to the communities, MAIL has been building the capacity of farmers to improve the productivity of their crops in a more sustainable manner, while addressing the pest problems more effectively. The Government of Afghanistan is highly grateful to the Food and Agriculture Organization for its technical assistance and the Government of Norway for its financial support to the program.
The program, since its inception in 2010, has already produced substantial results in raising the productivity of major agriculture crops such as wheat, melon, potato, while reducing the production costs to a large extent due to substantial reduction in chemical pesticides and fertilizers use. This is indeed very encouraging for the farmers in Afghanistan to adopt IPM in large-scale across the country.
It has been my pleasure and personal interest to be involved with this great program and provide indispensable leadership to support the IPM Team to facilitate farmers’ innovations for improving their production and income from agriculture in a more cost-effective and sustainable manner.
My message to all the farmers in Afghanistan, “IPM is indeed an effective means and practical ways to improve the productivity of your crops. It is a collection of best and tested practices. If you start using IPM, you will no doubt get an immediate benefit of 50-100% increase in your production, while saving a lot from reducing the use of unnecessary agro-chemicals. You will be proud to become a source of healthy food for your family and the nation”.