The Kabul times, Afghanistan Trustable News Agency.

The potential impact of industrial agriculture on Afghanistan

Afghanistan, known for its largely agricultural economy, sustains a significant portion of its population through farming and gardening. However, the agricultural sector often fails to provide adequate financial returns proportional to the labor invested. Farmers and gardeners eagerly anticipate each harvest season, hoping for profitable returns. Yet, due to market fluctuations and limited market access, the prices of fruits and vegetables frequently plummet, leaving farmers unable to cover their production costs and sustain their livelihoods. In response to these challenges, farmers are compelled to sell their produce at significantly reduced prices, resulting in minimal or no profits. This situation not only undermines their economic stability but also perpetuates a cycle of financial uncertainty and hardship. As a result, many farmers struggle to break even, let alone thrive economically. Presently, with abundant crops reported across numerous provinces, farmers and gardeners find themselves grappling anew with these recurring challenges. Despite their efforts and dedication, they face persistent hurdles in achieving sustainable and profitable agricultural practices. To address this long-standing issue, two main alternatives emerge a fundamental, long-term strategy and an immediate, shortterm solution. The long-term strategy advocates for the industrialization of agriculture. This involves establishing modern processing facilities in various regions of the country. With governmental support and collaboration, these facilities would transform raw fruits and vegetables into value-added products such as high-quality juices, snacks, preserves, and other perishable goods. Moreover, the establishment of standardized cold storage facilities in strategic locations would ensure prolonged freshness and quality, thereby preserving the value of produce in the market. This approach not only enhances the profitability of agriculture but also contributes to national food security by reducing post-harvest losses and ensuring a consistent supply of quality products to consumers. Additionally, efforts should focus on diversifying markets beyond national borders and exploring alternative transit routes. This initiative aims to shield farmers, gardeners, and traders from market volatility and external disruptions. By accessing international markets and establishing robust export channels, Afghan farmers can mitigate risks associated with local market fluctuations and expand their consumer base globally In the short term, urgent measures are needed to alleviate immediate financial pressures on farmers. Government subsidies, financial assistance programs, and market stabilization measures can provide temporary relief and stabilize prices during peak harvest seasons. These interventions are crucial in ensuring that farmers receive fair compensation for their hard work and dedication. Furthermore, public awareness campaigns play a pivotal role in promoting the consumption of locally grown fruits and vegetables. By encouraging consumers to prioritize domestically produced goods, these campaigns foster a sense of national pride and support local agricultural communities. Government entities, media outlets, religious leaders, influential figures, and educators must collaborate to give awareness to the public about the benefits of supporting local farmers and the importance of food sovereignty. While Afghanistan’s agricultural sector faces formidable challenges, industrializing agriculture and expanding market access offer promising solutions. By modernizing agricultural practices, enhancing value addition, and diversifying market opportunities, Afghanistan can achieve sustainable economic growth, ensure food security, and empower rural communities. However, achieving these goals requires concerted efforts from government, private sector stakeholders, and civil society to create an enabling environment for agricultural development and economic prosperity. Through collective action and strategic investments, Afghanistan can harness its agricultural potential to build a resilient and prosperous future for all its citizens. Mukhtar Safi

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The Kabul times, Afghanistan Trustable News Agency.