Technology Solution Improves Accountability and Productivity at Afghan Ministry of Agriculture

Thousands Attend International Agricultural Fair Connecting Afghan Farmers to Markets and Technology

USDA’s Capacity Building and Change Management Program, implemented by IESC under the Volunteers for Economic Growth Alliance (VEGA), helped Afghanistan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock (MAIL) organize an agriculture fair and commemorate the ancient Afghan tradition of farmers celebrating ‘Nawroz,’ the onset of Spring.

The Ag Fair provided exposure for farmers to the general public, businesses and investors from within Afghanistan and overseas, who were encouraged to participate.  It served as a vehicle to connect farmers with new markets and technology by bringing them together with potential foreign and domestic investors and buyers. Following six prior donor-assisted Ag Fairs in Kabul, this seventh Ag Fair held in March 2012 was the first that MAIL organized on its own.

CBCMP Change Management Specialists from the Private Sector, Communications, and Administration Directorates led organization of the event and systematized event planning so that MAIL will be able manage an upcoming international fair in September 2012 as host to Indian Chambers of Commerce.  This capacity building will be a crucial step for linking Afghanistan with India as a source of technology for Afghan farmers as well as a potential market for Afghan agricultural products.

Highlights of the event included

  • 64,000 attendees
  • 174 booths showcasing a range of products and services
  • 480 farmers from 14 districts of Kabul attended and participated in a Farmers Parade
  • Farmer leaders recognized and provided a MAIL package of improved seeds and gardening kit
  • 10 Afghan Cabinet members attended.

At the event, the Afghan Ministers of Agriculture and Finance signed agreements for the distribution of $14 million in certified wheat seed, a $6 million micro-credit program for Bamiyan, $17 million for a district (DAIL) budgeting program, and a loan agreement between MAIL and two farm service centers in Helmand and Laghman provinces.