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Library Agriculture and Rural Development Sector Strategy.

Agriculture and Rural Development Sector Strategy.

Agriculture and Rural Development Sector Strategy.

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This Agriculture and Rural Development Sector Strategy is a sectoral national strategy of Afghanistan. It applies to the period of 2008-2013. The central objective of the document is to ensure the social, economic and political well-being of rural communities, especially poor and vulnerable people, whilst stimulating the integration of rural communities within the national economy.The Strategy directly addresses food security issues, including food aid and nutrition issues. In doing so, it also treats the issues in a perspective of the vulnerable population of the country. Among others, the poor and women are highlighted under the category. The document incorporates some of the recent statistics demonstrating the level of vulnerability of rural populations and other important facts pertaining to the state of agriculture and rural development.The Strategy considers agricultural production systems in an integrated manner. Also, it promotes agricultural development in a socially equitable fashion. In its various sections, the Strategy promotes gender-sensitive design in the interventions and programmes contemplated for agricultural development particularly in livestock and dairy production.The Strategy includes specific objectives and action plans containing specific policy actions or activities, budgetary and M&E framework for agriculture and rural development sector, including rural poverty reduction. Among others, it envisages the establishment of water users’ associations, supporting cooperatives, farmers’, producers’ and other associations. According to the document, research and extension centres, quality control and diagnostic laboratories must be constructed to support the production, processing and marketing of farm inputs and outputs. Such services will be provided to the rural population as well. The document also promotes expansion of micro-finance services, comprehensive financial services for agriculture. It provides that by 2013 financial services should be available and accessible for farmers. The document also discusses some of the relevant issues in the area of social protection and references the Social Protection Sector Strategy of Afghanistan.The document also discusses the issue of processing of agricultural commodities in multiple subsectors of agriculture. It notes that food safety and quality control regulations will need to be developed and implemented. Further, it provides that public investment will be increased particularly in animal health. To support trade and creation of markets, it provides that various organizations will need to work together with the government for the negotiation of trade agreements supportive of horticultural exports. At various levels, the document promotes the role of private sector and business in the development of agriculture. It also notes that improved security of tenure and access to government land that is now unutilized will be an important element in encouraging agriculture investment and modernization.One of the main strategic thematic areas of the document is disaster and emergency preparedness aiming to strengthen early warning systems particularly for flooding and plant and animal diseases, disaster response coordination, disaster mitigation and relief directed at the extreme poor and in particular in relation to returnees, IDPs and other vulnerable groups. The Strategy provides for structural issues in this area such as irrigation, infrastructure, weather information, water level monitoring as well as non-structural issues such as planning coordination by the National Emergency Response Commission which is responsible for setting strategic direction, developing policies, approving plans, declaring states of emergency, mobilizing international assistance in times of major emergencies, and coordinating national emergency response through its National Emergency Operations Centre.According to the Strategy the Government is responsible for legal and regulatory frameworks, quality control and assurance, the social safety net as well as food security and disaster preparedness, physical security, and monetary policies to create an enabling environment including the use of taxes, tariffs and price support. Until the private sector is more developed, the Government will be the primary provider of research, statistical data and targeted extension services. Finally, the document provides that the strategy will be monitored via Participatory Monitoring and Evaluation methodology involving local beneficiaries in measuring, recording, collecting, processing and communicating information to assist local development programme extension workers and local group members in decision-making.

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