Agriculture Projects in Afhanistan – From Relief to Development
People in Need, Relief and Development Department, Czech Republic
People in Need organisation is working in Afganistan since 2001 and the scale of intervention counts from emergency and relief interventions through recovery, disaster preparedeness, disaster risk reduction down to longterm development projects and programs such as contribution in National Solidarity Program, Agriculture Education Program, Natural Resource Management (NRM) & Agriculture Program or Urban Poverty Program. The NRM and Agriculture programme has been established since 2008 with support of joint funding of European Comission (EC) and Czech Development Agency (CzDA) and focused directly on mountaineous and remote districts in south of Balkh province in northern Afghanistan.The working environment in southern Balkh is challanging from the logistic, environmental and also security point of view, none the less PIN managed to establish firm presence in the area and gained the reputation as virtually only organisation providing the support to local communities on longterm basis, besides relatively weak governemental bodies. This however asks for responsible attitude and longterm planning of the programs and the projects that have to bring visible long-term impacts, based on a good record of good practices and lessons learned.Besides that the understanding the main drivers and bottlenecks is a key for sucessfull planning of the development programs and the recent studies. For example one of the well established beliefs is that the conflicts of last decades had a large impact on quality of agriculture and management of natural resources. Recent studies carried out by PIN however do not bring the evidence of such dynamic. The initial recovery approach that was primarilly building the agriculture assets for food insecure families and returnees turned therefore gradually into capacity building of local communities and authorities in natural mesource management, conservation agriculture and development of agriculture business and value chains. Two recent projects implemented by PIN and funded by CzDA called ''Improved Agriculture in Balkh Province'' and ''Support to small sgriculture enterpreneurs in Balkh'' represent well the experience of this transformation, while they included both aspects – the capacity building in Income generation activities and general provision of improved assets.
Keywords: Afghanistan, agriculture extension, natural resource management, recovery
Contact Address: Jan Svitalek, People in Need, Relief and Development Department, Safaríkova 24, 120 000 Prague, Czech Republic, e-mail: jan.svitalekpeopleinneed.cz