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    Afghan, US agriculture experts talk water

    KABUL(PAN): US agriculture experts on Thursday discussed with Afghan counterparts best practices and new methods for improving irrigation and watershed systems in Afghanistan, the US embassy said.

    The US Embassy’s interagency agriculture team and the Afghan Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock (MAIL) kicked off a Watershed Rehabilitation and Irrigation Technology Workshop on Thursday, the embassy said in a statement. 

    Fifty Afghan, 35 US civilian and 20 US military agriculture experts came together to discuss best practices and new methods for improving irrigation and watershed systems, the statement said.

    Water is Afghanistan’s most important agricultural resource.  However, years of degradation to irrigation infrastructures and watersheds have decreased the agricultural potential of Afghanistan’s arable land. 

    The four-day workshop will focus on small scale projects and activities that can help rehabilitate watersheds and create jobs for Afghans, the statement added.

    “Today, using innovative techniques and new technologies, we have the opportunity to reverse some of the degradation that has adversely affected crops.  By sharing ideas in venues such as this we can learn from each other the best ways to improve irrigation, thereby improving farm yields and stabilizing watersheds,” said Jim Butler, U.S. Embassy Senior Agriculture Coordinator.

    MAIL’s Director General of Program Implementation and Coordination, Assad Zamir, also addressed the group during its opening session, noting the critical need to improve Afghanistan’s irrigation systems and thanking the US government for its efforts.