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Japan to donate $8.77m to agriculture sector

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AT-KABUL: The government of Japan is said to provide 8.77 million USD to improve agricultural sector in Herat province.

The amount will be spent through a project titled ‘Improve Agricultural Value Chain in Heart’ in the western Afghan province.

“It will support farmers and communities to better access to markets and enhance the agricultural value chains in Heart,” the embassy of Japan to Kabul said in a statement. “The project could benefit more than 300,000 Afghan people.”

The Exchange of Notes and the project document were signed at the Embassy of Japan in the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan by Mr. Kenji Enoshita, Charge d’Affaires ad interim of Embassy of Japan to Afghanistan and Dr. Mohammad Haider Reza, Director a.i. United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS).

The UNOPS will implement the Project in close collaboration with Afghanistan’s Ministry of Economy, Office of the Governor of Herat, Herat Economy Department and PDC Secretariat, and in partnership with the Government of Japan.

“This project is very important for farmers and the people of Herat and for Afghanistan economy and its people as a whole. The project will enable the farmers to have easy access to markets and to store their products according to accepted standards until they find their ways to other parts of the country.” Reza was quoted by the statement as saying.

“The Ministry of Economy of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan wishes to acknowledge the initiation of a project to support economic and agricultural development in Herat. In partnership with the Japanese Government, the project aims to enhance agricultural based livelihoods through strengthening agricultural value chains,” said deputy economy minister.

Charge d’Affaires ad interim of Embassy of Japan to Afghanistan, Mr. Kenji Enoshita, commented: “By finding new markets for the agricultural products of this country, they can not only feed the local population but also bring wealth to the entire Afghan nation as well as to the villages where they are produced. Fortunately, Afghanistan is very rich in horticulture products, such as almonds, pomegranates, pistachios, raisins, apricots and saffron, to name just a few. Afghanistan can promote its high-quality agricultural products to the world by improving or formulating the agricultural value chain, just as it did before the wars.”

Due for completion in March 2019, two of the city’s largest produce markets in Herat will be rehabilitated, in addition to the construction of a cool storage facility, agricultural exhibition and training facility, community bazaar in Injil District of Herat. In addition, two important access roads, totaling 6.5KM will be converted to asphalt to improve access to key markets and reduce congestion. Once completed, it is expected that local producers/farmers’ income will be increased and approximately 360,000 road users to have better access to the markets and the city. In addition to the rehabilitation and construction of the facilities in Herat, the $8.77 million project will also fund a capacity building training for 300 farmers and government officials in Herat in order to enhance their capacity to maintain the facilities afterwards. Japan has been assisting Afghanistan’s nation-building efforts in various fields including security, education, health, culture, humanitarian assistance, agriculture, infrastructure and capacity development amounting to $6.2 billion.