16 July 2018 - Afghanistan, whose agricultural industry accounts for up to 40 percent of its gross domestic product, has been welcomed as the 49th member country of CABI.
Dr Trevor Nicholls, CEO of CABI, confirmed signature of the UN-level Treaty on CAB International by the Government of Afghanistan to bring the country into membership of CABI to be administered through its Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock.
Membership of CABI entitles national governments to a range of benefits such as input into CABI’s global development agenda and links them to its international network of partners. Other benefits include regular regional consultations shaping CABI’s activities to address members’ needs and voting rights at CABI Review Conferences and Executive Council meetings. Members can also access CABI’s products, services, programmes and project deliveries and capacity-building activities.
Around 12 % of Afghanistan’s lands are arable and less than 6 percent is cultivated. Normally Afghanistan production of wheat is about 4.28 million tons whereas its needs 6.5 million tons for domestic consumption. The country meets its needs in rice, potatoes, pulses, nuts and depends on imports only for wheat, sugar, and edible fats and oils. Dr Nicholls said, “We warmly welcome Afghanistan to membership of CABI and look forward to helping it re-establish its place on the international market where its agricultural products – particularly almonds, pistachios, raisins, apricots and pomegranates – have a global reputation for excellence.”
CABI has already implemented projects and programmes that are having a beneficial impact in Afghanistan. The CABI-led Plantwise programme is fully operational and is supporting farmer to lose less of what they grow to pests and diseases with 162 plant clinics established, 333 plant doctors trained and 33 scientific fact sheets written since 2012. Other projects have included Integrated Crop Management in High-Value Crops (2007-2008), Training of Marginalized Farmers in Kunduz (2010), Rice value chain development in Takhar (2016-17), Integrated Pest Management in Apple in Baglan (2009-10 – funded by Aga Khan Foundation) , Border Quarantine Station survey (2015), Design of a high technologylaboratory complex in Badambagh (2015-16), a nationwide Insect Pest and Disease Survey (2016-18) and the World Bank-funded Karnal Bunt Disease Survey in Nangarhar.
Mr Nasir Ahmad Durrani, Afghanistan’s Minister for Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock, said, “We as a Government are committed for the self-reliance of Afghanistan in production of its own food commodities. The Government has built a number of successful partnerships regardless of the internal security situation. Over the last decade, CABI support in building the capacity of the agriculture department of Afghanistan has been incredible. We expect that a formal relationship with CABI will help us build further at policy and operational levels.”
Photo: Dr Qiaoqiao Zhang, CABI's Director, Memberships is pictured with HE Dr Said T. Jawad, Ambassador of Afghanistan to the United Kingdom who recently met soon after the confirmation of membership to CABI. HE Jawad assured his Embassy’s continued support in promoting greater partnership between Afghanistan and CABI.