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World Bank donates agricultural machinery

By Akhtar M. Nikzad-KABUL: The World Bank (WB) donated Afs73.6 million worth of agricultural machinery to the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock (MAIL).

The machinery was handed over to the Agricultural Research Institute of Afghanistan (ARIA) by Afghanistan Agriculture Irrigation Project on Tuesday. The machinery include tractors with their implements, rice harvesters, dryer machine, trucks, plows, disk harrows, sprayers, rice power tillers, brush cutters and others.

The machinery would be distributed among nine agricultural research centers in nine provinces of the country.

The minister of agriculture Asadullah Zamir termed the donation an important step for improvement and promotion of agriculture sector in the country. He said that the machinery would help the ministry to increase the production of improvised seeds and provide sustainable seeds to farmers.

He said that in the current situation Afghanistan needs modern technology for agricultural production and processing.

“Average 2.3 tons wheat is produced on one hectare crop land in Afghanistan while other countries in the region are producing five tons wheat on one hectare land. If we can increase the wheat production through strengthening the improved seed then we will be self-sufficient within the next five years,” he said.

Obaidullah Ramin, a member of the Wolesi Jirga from Baghlan province, said that agricultural research institutes require further support as without modernization of the research centers achieving self- sufficiency is impossible.

Chief of the ARIA, Mohammad Qasim Obaidi, said that there are 17 research farms in seven regions of the country where high quality seeds are produced and distribute to farmers. He said that the farms are not equipped with advanced agricultural machinery.

He said that the donated machinery would enable the research institutes to produce high quality seeds.

“Our research institutes have the capacity to produce 40 metric tons of fortified seeds but it is not adequate to meet the demand. We hope to meet the target of producing 75 metric tons of seeds within next five years,” he pointed out.

The machinery will be provided to the research centers in Kabul, Nangarhar, Balkh, Kunduz, Baghlan, Herat Helmand, Takhar, Badakhshan and Bamyan provinces.