The Afghan Ministry of Agriculture and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) on Saturday signed an agreement to further support Afghan farmers and the agribusiness community.
The minister Assadullah Zamir and USAID mission director Herbert Smith agreed on the implementation of the Regional Agricultural Development Projects (RADP) 2016 Work Plans, according to a statement by the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock (MAIL).
The agreement is to make sure the work of USAID is in line with the goals and objectives of the ministry in regards to the development of Afghanistan's agricultural sector, it said.
According to the statement, MAIL and USAID signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) last year stipulating that both parties would jointly approve each of RADP's annual work plans over the course of the five-year program.
The purpose of the RADP program, worth over $300 million USD, is to improve the long-term food and economic security for rural Afghans in 21 provinces throughout the county, the statement reads.
The MAIL-RADP partnership focuses on improving the productivity and profitability of wheat, high value crops, and livestock value chains, in addition to addressing the policy, legal, and regulatory constraints affecting value chain development, it continued.
During his speech, the minister appreciated the partnership and called it effective in developing the agriculture sector of Afghanistan.
"In respect to problems facing the agriculture sector, we need to allocate money to the areas which need pressing attention like increase of grains and finding markets for the agricultural products," Zamir noted.
Based on the program, the USAID will help develop strategic reserves of grains in the country, Smith said.
"USAID is collaborating with the ministry through the Afghanistan agriculture extension program to and the capacity building change management program to both design [and] to reinforce the capacity of the ministry at national and sub-national levels," he said at the event.
Furthermore, the agency will also help build women's skills in this sector.