Newsroom  Press releases  2003

35) Afghan Agriculture Minister visits ICRISAT (20 January 2003)

His Excellency Mr Mohammed Sharif, the First Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Afghanistan, visited the Patancheru campus of the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) today.

This is the first time that a Minister from the new Government of Afghanistan is visiting ICRISAT. The visit is expected to further ICRISAT's collaboration with the Afghan Government to rehabilitate an agricultural system that has been destroyed by decades of war, not to mention three years of terrible drought.

Working as part of an International Consortium for the last 18 months, ICRISAT has been involved with the restoration of the genetic material and re-establishing the agricultural research network in the country. The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the International Centre for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) are among the other partners.

Dr William Dar, Director General of ICRISAT, invited Mr Sharif to visit ICRISAT to explore future collaboration. On Tuesday the Minister will be visiting the gene bank at ICRISAT, which contains germplasm of crops that Afghanistan lost during the past 22 years of war.

Future Harvest's scientists – from ICRISAT, ICARDA, the International Centre for Maize and Wheat Improvement (CIMMYT) and the International Potato Centre (CIP) – are working in Afghanistan training farmers to conserve and multiply seeds. The aim is to develop this as a business proposition to enable the farmers' economic recovery.

Introduction of integrated pest management, crop improvement, and upgrading the phytosanitary practices are among the other programmes under consideration.

For more information contact Dr Farid Waliyar at f(dot)waliyar(at)cgiar(dot)org.

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