The Islamic Organization for Food Security (IOFS) continues to drive impactful change in Afghanistan's agricultural landscape. After the enlightening field visits to Herat and Western Afghanistan, the IOFS delegation continues its journey, participating in informative meetings and consultations in Kabul and Logar provinces.
As part of the ongoing fact-finding initiative, the IOFS delegation embarked on high-level deliberations at the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, and Irrigation of Afghanistan with its relevant officials towards fostering the exchange of strategic visions and priority areas for agricultural development. Core themes included fortifying capacities in seed research, plant protection, and agricultural mechanization.
Additionally, the two sides explored the potential for introducing benchmark model projects specifically designed for smallholder farmers. Mawlawi Sadr Azam, Acting Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Livestock and Irrigation, extended heartfelt appreciation for IOFS's visit, highlighting the significance of the mandate given to IOFS during the 17th Extraordinary Session of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation ( OIC ) Council of Foreign Ministers on the Situation in Afghanistan, held on 19 December 2021 in Islamabad, Pakistan. He called upon fellow OIC Member States to unite in support of IOFS's mission, underlining its pivotal role in collective agricultural progress. Mr. Emre Yüksek, IOFS Humanitarian Operations Manager, underscored the tangible application of the mission's insights, confirming their translation into swift-impact participatory projects. These initiatives aim to harness modern technologies, elevating yields for farmers and laying the groundwork for sustainable cereal production models, poised for replication across Afghanistan.
The delegation's journey then led them to the Logar province, where they were warmly welcomed by Mawlawi Sayed Aminullah Hashimi, the Acting Head of the Agriculture, Irrigation, and Livestock Directorate. The mission encompassed enlightening engagements with local farmer groups in the Baraki Barak area on the sides of Logar river renowned for its diverse self-help collectives.
During the exchanges, farmers voiced their challenges, most notably concerning access to quality seeds, fertilizers, and tailored mechanization solutions. The delegation took note of the feedback regarding fuel-intensive machinery in previous projects, prompting the call for cost-effective alternatives. Farmers also expressed interest in modern drip irrigation techniques and improved horticultural seeds for off-season cultivation following the wheat harvest. Discussions highlighted infrastructural bottlenecks, compounded by persistent drought and hurdles in accessing markets.
Continuing the Mission expedition, the IOFS delegation visited the Badambagh, Agricultural Research Institute of Afghanistan (ARIA) in Kabul. Mawlavi Nasratullah Talha, the General Director of the Institute, expressed gratitude for IOFS's unwavering support, emphasizing the urgency of bolstering Afghanistan's agricultural sector. Engagements with technical experts spanned a range of topics, including soil research, plant protection and quarantine, agrochemicals, quality control of chemical and organic fertilizers, and emergency pest control.
Discussions also addressed the looming threat of Moroccan locusts and other pests to harvests, fostering mutual resolve for enhanced participation of Afghan experts in international forums addressing transboundary pest control and fighting against plant diseases. The parties also contemplated avenues for potential capacity-building assistance.
The insights acquired during this fact-finding mission will be shared among IOFS Member States, forming the bedrock for actionable interventions and concrete project proposals. IOFS remains steadfast in its commitment to fostering sustainable agricultural development, thereby contributing to amplified food security and prosperity for the people of Afghanistan.