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Afghanistan's agricultural sector was severely damaged during the decades of war in the country. The devastation was due to farms used as battlefields, with orchards and gardens burnt and trees chopped down, as well as arable land turned toxic by weapons and explosives. EU aid has played a significant role in rebuilding Afghanistan's economic infrastructure, in particular in the areas of agriculture, animal husbandry and irrigation.
The EU assisted Afghan authorities in developing sanitary standards and testing facilities for a modern animal health sector. With EU funds, Afghanistan's Ministry of Agriculture set up a nationwide disease monitoring system and two laboratories for vaccine production and disease testing. The aim is to improve the quality and quantity of animal-related products and to respond to outbreaks of animal disease.
Another key sector for the Afghan farmers is the richness in biodiversity, in particular of the fruit species and varieties. The EU's project on perennial horticulture has collected species and samples to preserve the varieties of fruit trees by travelling from village to village to gather unique planting material. The varieties were then further developed on the farms run by the project and once certified, released to the private sector. The aim is for a high-value chain for the fruit sector whereby the certification system ensures improved quality and higher returns for the production. The EU also contributed to Afghanistan's first Plant Biotechnology Laboratory that supports the horticulture sector and sets up control systems for pests and fruit crop diseases. By the same approach, a seed certification system was set up, as well as testing laboratories. A data management system was set up to assess the food security situation in Afghanistan. As a results, analytical tools for classifying the severity of food insecurity was set up for the Afghan government to identify areas of vulnerability.
By forging links between the public and the private sector, EU efforts to boost the Afghan agricultural sector provided farmers with increased government capacity that serves to boost the country's agricultural production.