KAUBL - The European Union Special Representative and Head of the EU Delegation to Afghanistan, Ambassador Vygaudas Ušackas, the AKDN Diplomatic Representative Aly Mawji and the Deputy Minister, Abdul Ghani Ghuriani, of the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation & Livestock paid a visit to the Plant Biotechnology Laboratory in Badam Bagh Kabul.
Established by AKF-A (Aga Khan Foundation-Afghanistan) and financially supported by EU (European Union), the Plant Biotechnology Laboratory is the first of its kind in Afghanistan and a designated research area for the Ministry of Agriculture Irrigation & livestock, Afghanistan (MAIL).
“Since 2004, EU support to Horticulture, Seeds Industry and animal health amounts to € 74.5 million in the form of: technical assistance to the MAIL for horticulture policy reform; government research farms; completion of a 'National Collection of Fruit and Nut Varieties'; dissemination of quality planting and grafting material; support to farmers and about 1,000 nursery growers in 58 districts of 21 provinces for tree nursery and orchard development; support for the emergence of professional associations such as 22 nursery growers’ associations; a National Almond Industry Association and finally an umbrella organization aiming at coordinating the development of the horticulture industry nationwide," says Ambassador Vygaudas Ušackas, the European Union Special Representative and Head of the EU Delegation to Afghanistan while visiting the facility.
Aly Mawji, AKDN Diplomatic Representative, said, “The Aga Khan Development Network is delighted to be supporting the Plant Biotechnology Laboratory, building capacity in an area which is crucial to the future of Afghanistan’s horticulture industry, enabling the Afghan Government to control and regulate the import and export of plants , benefitting farmers and nursery growers throughout the country”.
The Plant Biotechnology Laboratory in Badam Bagh will make a long-term contribution to support and improve the horticulture sector of the country, through establishing certification systems, and detecting and controlling plant viruses. The laboratory is also building the capacity of university students and technical staff of NGOs and government agencies involved in the development of horticulture sector in the country, and provide support to the plant quarantine department of Afghanistan responsible for controlling the trade of agricultural products.
The Deputy Minister of MAIL said, “we welcome the contribution this important work is making to the horticulture sector in Afghanistan, and the ability of the Afghan government to regulate and support the horticulture industry through phytosanitary certification and control of plant viruses. We are committed to seeing the work of the laboratory continue as a central feature of the growth of a thriving horticulture sector.”
The laboratory performs a technique for the detection and identification of virus and virus like pathogens in the fruit trees (National Germplasm). In order to support PHDP and the Government in developing a detailed concept for rejuvenation of Afghanistan’s horticulture sector, the laboratory have been organizing numerous events including trainings, seminars, workshops and exposure visits for Government and Horticulture Faculty staff and students. (PR)