Thursday, April 2, 2009
AfPak Development Strategy
A strategy that will work is outlined below: Understanding causes and mechanism to alleviate vulnerability amongst people who living rural and remote areas is the key to conflict resolution in Afghanistan. In this context it is important to study the problem of Agriculture in Afghanistan which has suffered extensively due to long period of internal disturbance and a war like environment all over the country. The reconstruction of Afghanistan can at best be based on bringing back agricultural into focus and while doing so modernize it. Given the rural nature of Afghan economy, reduction of poverty and ensuring food security for the masses needs urgent attention on its agricultural sector and linkages between its rural-urban markets. Agricultural sector growth needs support from a number of non-farm activities beginning from agricultural extension activities and provisioning of input supplies to rural outback. Given not so hospitable terrains most important is to crate/recondition rural road network, establish transportation and market linkages. Expanding Irrigation systems and enhancing water availability to promote cultivation is another important activity which requires immediate attention. All the above sets of activities require involvement of both trained and manual workforce drafted form the local areas. Afghanistan has been well known for exporting exotic high value dry fruits all over the world. A cost efficient strategy to enhance rural incomes, therefore, is to encourage cash crop (fruit) cultivation and complementing it by technology aided processing, for example, dehydrating and packaging that facilitate exports. Technology and skill formation will also be needed in the area of warehousing, milling, standardization and food processing so as to modernize agricultural markets. Market information system and establishing a rural area data and information network are other areas that need investment in training, education and extension activities.