Agricultural production vs. community irrigation – is this hope for Afghanistan?

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Agricultural production in Afghanistan not only has a rich history, but is also one of the country’s main economic sectors. Cotton, walnuts, almonds, barley, rice, grapes or wheat are grown here. Each of these plants, in order to function, needs not only sunlight, the lack of which you do not have to complain about, but also water. Its shortage has been a major problem in the country for years. Does the new irrigation project have a chance to change the fortunes of Afghan agriculture?

FAO with idea to solve water problem

The way to deal with the worsening problem is supposed to be the idea of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization. The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) on community irrigation. The two organizations have begun implementing the $9.5 million project, planned for four years. Its goal is to increase the area of irrigated land, making agricultural production, and thus food production, more stable. Agricultural production will be covered by the project In Kunar province in eastern Afghanistan. That’s increased food security for more than 12,600. suffering from a shortage of food for the region’s residents. In addition, the project is expected to take care of pastures and safeguard groundwater resources, which is particularly important in the face of climate change.

Agricultural production in Afghanistan – what are its characteristics?

Agricultural production in Afghanistan, is heavily dependent on access to water due to its dry climate. Irrigation is therefore becoming a key factor affecting crop yields and diversity. Although Afghanistan has water sources such as rivers, streams and irrigation systems, they are mostly insufficient for optimal irrigation of farmland.

In some regions, modern technologies such as drip irrigation are being used to promote water conservation and increase crop efficiency. However, the looming water crisis, felt not only in Afghanistan, is prompting the search for solutions that will become support during the dry seasons. As a result, farmers will be able to grow crops that draw a lot of water. It is worth noting that resource availability in the region is limited not only by drought, but also by pollution and armed conflict.

How can the FAO project support agricultural production in Afghanistan?

Agricultural production depends heavily on water, and the changing climate and droughts are causing the population to suffer from food shortages. Afghanistan is a country where up to 70 percent of the food produced may depend on effective irrigation. The project initiated by the FAO involves revitalizing the Nurgal irrigation canal in Kunar province. The goal is to not only increase water flow, but also the reliability of the entire system.

What does it look like in practice? The project will increase the irrigation area by 70 hectares, creating an area with access to water of 643 hectares. Such a move is expected to lead to an increase in agricultural potential – it is estimated that agricultural production can thus expand by 12 percent. That’s a lot of support, especially for poor rural households, which are most vulnerable to hunger.

The project also aims to protect pastures by improving and adapting plant varieties that are resistant to specific conditions and restoring groundwater resources. The FAO proposal, created with JICA’s support, develops, as it were, the Green Ground project, which was initiated in 2003. By Dr. Tetsu Nakamura and Peace (Japan) Medical Services (PMS). By 2023. In the Kunar River basin, dry farmland of nearly 24 hectares has been transformed into fields full of greenery. It has benefited more than 650,000. individuals. The success of the Green Ground project leads us to believe in the success of the next initiative. To provide water, food and livelihoods is to bring relief to many people and hope that Afghans can improve their lot, thanks to a very important factor – water.

What does community irrigation consist of?

The term “community irrigation” is closely related to water resource management. This is a joint irrigation operation by local communities. Farmers and area residents work together to manage the irrigation system in a sustainable way. The goal is efficient agricultural production. By using community irrigation, local people can more effectively control access to water in various areas of life. The key features of this system are local community participation, cooperation, sustainability (e.g., water conservation), and adequate education and support of management institutions.

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