KABUL, AFGHANISTAN – Afghanistan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock (MAIL) and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO, Afghanistan) jointly celebrated World Food Day in Kabul, attended by over 200 delegates from the government, national and international NGOs and UN agencies.
“It gives me great pleasure to celebrate World Food Day today, on behalf of MAIL and the Government of Afghanistan and renew the government’s commitment to support agriculture, with a key focus on rural areas,” said His Excellency Deputy and Acting Minister of MAIL, Mir Amanuddin Haidari, who welcomed participants to the event. “Thirty nine percent of Afghans still live below the poverty line, of which more than 70% reside in rural areas.”
Despite efforts to increase production of wheat from 2.5 million metric tons in 2004 to 4.6 million metric tons in 2015 – meeting 80% of the county’s needs – 2.5 million people in Afghanistan continue to need food assistance.
Dr. Ibrahim Shinwari, MI Afghanistan Country Director, attended the event along with Dr. Ahmad Wali Aminee, National Program Officer. In discussion with His Excellency Mir Amanuddin Haidari, Dr. Shinwari spoke of establishing a steering committee for operationalizing the Afghanistan Food Security and Nutrition Agenda (AFSANA) and developing robust standards for food fortification, both of which are still in process.
FAO country representative, Mr. Tomio Shichiri, and World Food Programme representative in Afghanistan, Mr. Gordon Craig, reiterated continued commitments to the government and people of Afghanistan for better agriculture, decreasing poverty and tackling malnutrition in the country through collaborative efforts.
H.E. Ali Ahmad Osmani, Afghanistan’s Minister of Energy and Water, thanked national and international NGOs for their continued support and commitment for ensuring better, safer food in Afghanistan. He emphasized the government’s responsibility to use opportunities like World Food Day to encourage joint efforts for planning and supporting agriculture to pave the way for better food and progress in Afghanistan.
Learn more about MI’s 2015 World Food Day efforts.