Water & energy sector in critical situation
KABUL (PAN): A shortage water reservoirs and sharing of the precious, but depleting, resource with neighbours have created a critical situation for the country’s water and energy sector.
At a ceremony marking International Water Day in Kabul, Water and Energy Minister Mohammad Ismail Khan linked the lack of reservoirs to the continued war and insecurity in the country, where most of agriculture land is rain-fed.
“The climate change and rains have a direct impact on irrigated and rain-fed farms in the country, where droughts and floods are common,” the minister said in a statement read out at the ceremony.
Up to 30 percent of Afghanistan’s water is used by Pakistan and Iran. In his statement, Khan said his ministry planned to construct 22 dams in various provinces for organising water and agriculture development.
Addressing participants, Agriculture Minister Mohammad Asif Rahimi called improving the country’s economy and food security as his ministry’s top priorities. He said the agriculture sector had improved a lot in recent years.
He said arable land had increased from 2.1 million hectares to 8.1 million hectares, wheat production from 5.1 million tonnes to 2.3 million tonnes, nurseries from 75,000 hectares to 119,000 hectares and grape production from 364,000 tonnes to 615,000 tonnes.
Almond production jumped from 19,000 to 56,000 tonnes and cotton from 20,000 to 45,000 tonnes, with the saffron yield reaching 2,000 kilograms over the past decade, the minister pointed.