ADB to help Afghanistan revive agriculture sector
The United Kingdom has agreed to provide the Manila-based bank an additional $11 million for enhanced project facilities and to ensure the objectives are realised.
In a statement, the ADB said the funds would primarily support slaughterhouses and modernisation of the livestock industry. The agriculture sectoris supportedby ADB through the Afghanistan Infrastructure Trust Fund (DFID Funding).
ADB provided a $30 million grant for the Agriculture Market Infrastructure Project to build facilities and standards in livestock and horticulture industries. The Afghan government is making an in-kind contribution of $1 million.
Agriculture, accounting for half of the gross domestic product, is a major source of employment and income for most Afghans. Horticulture and livestock industries play a key role.
Minister of FinanceEklil Ahmad Hakimisaid: “We are very pleased to sign this grant provided by the ADB and appreciate its commitment to improved infrastructure in Afghanistan.”
He called agriculture one of the government’s priority sectors and a foundation for improved livelihoods and economic growth. He praised the focus of ADB and the UK on the sector’s development.
ADB Country Director Thomas Panella said: “Since 2001, there have been gains in horticulture production and livestock numbers, but the sector still needs major and rapid improvement in basic facilitiesand regulatory policies.”
Butchers currently slaughter animals in the street or in backyards because of the destruction of abattoirs during the war,according to Panella, who said the project was investing in five slaughterhouses.
It will also invest in a number of small-scale packing, sorting, grading, dryingand cold storage facilities for the horticulture sector, and help build up the capacity of the ministry concerned to implement sanitary and phytosanitary regulations.
The project is aimed to cut product losses, raise standards and increase competitiveness in both domestic and international markets. It will increase returns to producers and traders, besides creating employment.
“To help encourage private investment, the project will use a leasing model, with the management and operation of the slaughterhouses contracted to private companies,” the statement said.
In the medium term, ownership can be transferred to the private sector. Similarly, marketing facilities set up in the horticulture sector will be operated and managed by farmer organisations and agricultural cooperatives, which will eventually assume ownership.
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