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Agriculture minister returns from productive US visit

Agriculture minister returns from productive US visit

Nov 17, 2015 - 16:12

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): Minister of Agricultureinfo-icon, Irrigation and Livestock Assadullah Zamir has returned home from a productive and fruitful visit to the United States, his office said on Tuesday.

Apart from a series of meetings, Zamir visited the Washington State University (WSU), the University of California/Davis (UC Davis) in California and the Wheat Marketing Center (WMC) in Portland.

He met dryland wheat farmers and WSU extension workers, visited an industry-leading fruit and vegetable processing company, toured WSU’s irrigation research station and observed new grape irrigation techniques.

WSU is one of the leading land grant universities participating in the Afghan Agriculture Extension Project (AAEP), a $20 million USAIDinfo-icon-funded project focused on helping MAIL deliver more effective services to its rural beneficiaries.

In a statement from the ministry, Zamir noted, “WSU’s work in Afghanistaninfo-icon has been instrumental in helping our country develop our extension work and in generating higher-value crops to assist rural farmers.”

In Oregon, the minister attended a workshop at the WMC, a center devoted to improving the competitive edge of US wheat through educationinfo-icon and research.

Zamir is currently in talks with the WMC and other research institutions to send Afghan experts to the US to attend specialised courses on the production, marketing, analysis, and management of various fields within the agriculture industry.

He also met staff from UC Davis’ various education and research centers on plant breeding techniques, crop management, post-harvest storage and the processing and marketing of crops important to Afghanistan and the arid US.

“At UC Davis’ Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center, the marketability and profitability of Afghanistan’s wild pistachio industry dominated the conversations,” the statement added.

Dr. Louise Ferguson, director of UC Davis’ Fruit, Nut Research and Information Center, called the quality, purity and organic nature of Afghanistan’s pistachios exceptional.

The trip, which lasted from November 3-12, was sponsored by the Afghanistan Agricultural Extension Program II (AAEP II) and the Capacity Building and Change Management Program II (CBCMP II).

Zamir said: “Afghanistan has learned and profited by looking at the US agricultural innovation and technology, especially in terms of rain/dryland wheat, irrigation, on-farm water management, production and marketing of high-value crops like pistachios, almonds, pomegranates, apples and grapes…”


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