Mon, Oct

‘Saffron replaces lapis lazuli as gift to world leaders’


saffronPresident Ashraf Ghani has directed the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock to focus on important issues and incorporate demands of common people in its first-100 day plan.

 The ministry presented its first 100-day plan to the president at a meeting he chaired at the Presidential Palace on Monday, a statement from the palace said.

 The meeting was attended by Agriculture and Livestock Minister Asaddullah Zamir and the ministry’s working team. The minister explained his ministry’s 100-day plan divided into nine parts.

 The meeting discussed in detail the plan, irrigation system, wheat production, storage facilities for food, fruit orchards, commercial trees, treatment of plants and household animals, research works, preservation of forests, natural streams, support for the private sector, administrative reforms, human resources and the ministry’s public relations strategy.

The ministry’s working team also shed light on promises held out at the London Conference regarding Afghanistan’s agriculture sector. President Ghani praised the ministry’s plan and directed the officials to give importance to crucial issues and consider public demands in implementing its plans. He stressed strengthening the irrigation system, preserving food and natural water resources, development of saffron crop and capacity-building of the agriculture ministry officials.

 The president said agriculture ministry officials should hold meetings with other government departments to make joint efforts for promotion of domestic products. He said the UAE, China and Azerbaijan were interested in promoting, processing and finding market for saffron produced in Afghanistan. The president said: “Now we gift saffron to world leaders instead of lapis lazuli and we give top priority to finding market for domestic products.” He said the agriculture ministry’s extension services should be coordinated with the private sector and should benefit from facilities available with the private sector.

 He directed the ministry to work seriously on bringing improvement to wheat procurement policy, fruit yields, especially grapes, their processing and marketing. The president asked the Agriculture Ministry to introduce reforms to improve the capacity of its staff in line with its plans. He stressed the ministry should enable its staff members to devise, monitor and implement all plans over the next four and a half year.