Afghanistan is highly dependent on agriculture and this sector has been suffering from multiple diseases and insect pests. Having this harsh reality in mind, MAIL has prioritized to identify all existing plant pests and diseases, and later on how to prevent. Deputy minister Mr. Mir Amanudin Haidari at the Stakeholder Planning Workshop of this survey said “we have many diseases in Afghanistan and they have cost us a lot even as a trade barrier. Some diseases have been transmitted to our county. Identification and creating database of such diseases are vitally important. It will enable us to prevent diseases like we had in melons of Takhar province few years back.”
Abdullah Wajidi, acting director of Afghanistan Agricultural Inputs Projects (AAIP) who is funding and coordinating this survey stated in his speech that ‘Nationwide Insect Pests and Plant Diseases Survey’ is a great and important part of AAIP. He further added that they will try and work hard with the implementing partner to conduct the survey more effectively. Center for Agricultural Biosciences International (CABI) is awarded to carry out this work in collaboration with Plant Protection and Quarantine Directorate (PPQD) and other MAIL departments. CABI organized this two-day ‘Stakeholders Planning Workshop’ with an objective to finalize the survey implementation plans and methodologies with inputs from the technical team of all MAIL departments and University teachers.
Since Afghanistan has recently got World Trade Organization (WTO) membership, it is prerequisite to identify and list all plant insect and diseases prevailing in the country. Muhammad Faheem, CABI Country Coordinator-Afghanistan explained that this survey is not only identifying insects and diseases but also to explore which diseases exist where, on which commodities, and at what level. The survey that will be conducted in two year is focusing on all field crops, vegetables, fruit orchards, forest, veterinary farms and stored grains, and all landscapes i.e. agriculture, fallow, grass and rocky lands for detection of plant insect pests and diseases. A national database will be developed to record all these information and establish national museum to preserve all the samples for future use and research studies.