President vows to control Afghanistan’s waters
KABUL (Pajhwok): President Ashraf Ghani on Saturday said improving the agriculture sector and controlling Afghanistan’s waters were among his government’s priority programs, announcing to launch the construction of 21 water dams in near future.
While addressing the fourth promotion and development of agriculture conference in Kabul, Ghani said water was a vital element for development of agriculture but it was not paid attention.
“Our main focus is on harnessing and managing our waters to save our farms from devastating floods and the water could be utilised for utmost advantages, our unmanaged rivers damages crops on hundreds of acres of land every year,” he said.
The president said Afghan farmers in the past had been benefiting from an equal water distribution system and they had been using stream waters, something they were currently deprived of.
He said the Ministry of Agriculture was responsible to pay attention to equal distribution of water among landowners.
“The Afghan government has the plan to launch work on construction of 21 water dams for controlling the country’s waters,” Ghani said without providing more details. Afghanistan allowed its water to be used by others without any payments, the president said.
Based on some reports, billions cubic meters of Afghanistan water flows into Iran and Pakistan.
Ghani said the prevention of land-grabbing was his government’s second high priority. “I have ordered all the governors to prevent land grabbing and return usurped lands back to the nation,” he said, promising that properties of people would be protected against grabbers in future.
“No one can threaten legal land property of a person neither by force, authority or money,” he said.
According to reports, thousands acres of lands has been rescued from land grabbers while four million acres of land remains usurped.
The president said getting benefits of lands that had not been used so far and improving of farmers’ livelihood was another top priority of his government, asking relevant organs to pay attention to establishing cold storages and laboratories to process agricultural products.
He asked participants of the conference to highlight problems in the agriculture sector and provide their suggestions for solutions. Ghani expressed concern that Afghanistan yearly imported agricultural materials worth $4 billion from foreign countries.
At the end of the conference, the president asked the private sector to cooperate with the government in promoting Afghanistan agriculture.
The three-day conference is being attended by government officials, representatives of private sector and farmers.
Agriculture and Livestock Minister Asadullah Zamir said his ministry would share new agricultural programs with the private sector and farmers during the conference.
The creation of an agricultural information bank at the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock and establishing laboratories and animal clinics in rural areas were part of his ministry’s programs, he said.
Zamir added equipping provincial agriculture departments and creating a contact system with farmers were other important programs of his ministry.
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