Japan has contributed over USD 63.654 million to support improvement of irrigation systems and rural access in Afghanistan.
The funding, contributed through the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF), administered by the World Bank, will support the following two on-going projects, which are essential to meet the country’s needs to improve the lives of the people of Afghanistan, and the recurrent cost expenditures of the Afghan government.
1) Irrigation Restoration and Development Project (IRDP) – USD 15,000,000
The assistance from Japan is to co-finance IRDP project to improve the irrigation systems and the broader water resource management in Afghanistan as well as people’s access to services. The contribution will help increase agriculture productivity in the project areas.
2) Afghanistan Rural Access Project (ARAP) – USD 15,000,000
The funding from Japan is also to co-finance ARAP project, which will help rural communities to benefit from all-season road access to basic services and facilities through rehabilitation and maintenance of rural roads and infrastructure.
3) Recurrent Cost Window – USD 33,654,545
Over USD 33 million will be added to the operating budget of the Government of Afghanistan through the Recurrent Cost Window of ARTF, facilitating continuation of the government’s service delivery to the Afghan people.
Japan has been assisting Afghanistan’s nation-building efforts in various fields, ranging from security to economic and social development sectors including agriculture, rural development, infrastructure and human capacity development. The cumulative Japanese assistance to Afghanistan since 2001 amounts to USD 6.131 billion.
Pomegranate harvest down in Kandahar
Pomegranate production has declined by 10 percent in Afghanistan’s southern Kandahar province, local officials said this week.
Drought and floods are said to be the main reasons behind the decline in pomegranate yield in Kandahar this year.
“We have pomegranate trees covering 10,000 hectares of land. Unfortunately, this year’s harvest saw a 10 percent decrease,” said Shams-ur-Rahman Musa, head of agricultural products at Kandahar agriculture department.
Meanwhile, the provincial chamber of commerce said that they have exported 13,134 tons of pomegranate so far this year.
Abdul Baqi Bina, deputy head of Kandahar Chamber of Commerce, said that pomegranate was also being transported to other provinces of the country.
Local farmers also said that drought and floods affected pomegranate production this year, but added that the demand for the fruit remains high in the market.
“Pomegranate harvest has declined this year due to drought. Hopefully it will increase next year,” said Juma Khan, a farmer in Kandahar.
“I request the Islamic Emirate’s authorities to help provide us with pesticides,” said Abdullah Jan, a farmer in Kandahar.
Food and oil prices fall in Afghanistan: IEA
The officials of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) have recently said that the price of food items and oil has decreased by 30 percent in the country.
Mohammad Yunus Mohmand, deputy head of Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Investment (ACCI) has said that over the past month, the price of food items and oil have decreased by 30 percent, and in the near future the prices will decrease even more.
“The prices have decreased by 20 to 30 percent and will decline further,” said Mohmand.
Akhundzada Abdul Salam Jawad, a spokesman for the Ministry of Trade and Industry, also said that the ministry has taken more measures to control prices, but they want to import enough food and non-food items into the country.
“We assure the people that before the arrival of this winter season, we have plans to reduce the basic needs, and all commodities and raw materials, Inshallah will have a significant reduction,” said Salam Jawad.
At the same time, the officials of ACCI have further said that the decrease in food prices in the world has had a positive effect on food prices in Afghanistan.
However, the high level of poverty has caused the country’s residents to not be able to buy the materials they need, therefore, they call on the government to pay serious attention to the price of raw materials so that the rates do not rise again.
“Until yesterday, a can of oil was 1900 afghanis, today it has reached 1700 afghanis,” said a shopkeeper.
On the other hand, the price of oil products has also declined, and a number of sellers express hope that the price of oil and gas will decrease further.
“Previously, the price of diesel per liter was 100 afghanis, now it is 97 afghanis. Gasoline was 80 afghanis, now it is 78 afghanis,” said an oil seller.
This reduction in price of food items and oil come while recently the Ministry of Industry and Trade has signed a contract with Russia for the purchase of millions of tons of food and petroleum products, which according to experts, the prices will drop significantly when these products are imported.
IEA in talks with Russian, Chinese businessmen on investment in Afghanistan
Officials of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) are in talks with Russian and Chinese and Arab businessmen over the possibility of investment in Afghanistan, the Ministry of Industry and Commerce said this week.
“We are in talks with big businessmen of Russia, China and Arab countries on investment in Afghanistan. We will make it public once we reach agreement,” said Khanzada Abdul Salam Jawad, a spokesman for the Ministry of Industry and Commerce.
According to the official, more than 100 business licenses were distributed to foreign nationals during the past one year.
Meanwhile, members of the private sector welcome efforts to attract foreign investment in Afghanistan.
“I think there is interest in investment in Afghanistan. There are political problems. They (investors) will consider political issues, banking issues, and transfer of money. There can be no other excuses. The laws are the same as in the past. The laws are easy and clear,” said Khanjan Alokozay, a member of Chamber of Commerce and Investment.
Economic experts call on IEA to maintain positive and constructive engagement with countries in order to help the economic development of Afghanistan.
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