Tuesday September 4, 2013
Kabul (BNA) Once-green mountainsides across Afghanistan are still being stripped of their trees as the long-running process of deforestation continues.
The head of the agriculture department for Khost province in eastern Afghanistan, Dr. Naqibullah, says that about half of the 1,300 square-kilometer area that was once covered in forests has been cleared over the last three decades.
This reporter visited Qalandar district, in the northern part of Khost, where loggers were hard at work with exes and chainsaws.
They have parceled out sections among themselves, and are steadily turning green woodland into arid desert.
Local people say they have no option but to cut down the forests, as they possess either farmland or any other means of earning an income.
Local government officials in Khost say they have taken some action and have at least managed to slow the pace of deforestation.
As far back as December 2011, an official of the Environment Protection Agency, Mohammad Ali, saying that deforestation would have a negative impact on environment of Khost such as devastation caused by recent floods.
In July, the United Nations Environment Program issued a guidance chart on natural resources management and peace-building in Afghanistan showing that forest products, such as firewood, construction materials, animal fodder and tree crops, contribute to the livelihoods of millions of Afghans.
Forests reduce the risk of soil erosion, landslides and desertification.
UNEP said the forestry industry in the eastern part of Afghanistan, where Khost is located, and in plantation projects in other areas, if managed accountably and sustainably, has the potential to general much needed revenue for the government and jobs for local people.
UNEP confirms that over the past 30 years deforestation caused by increased demand for timber and firewood, and conflict have led to sleep drops in forest cover.
Meanwhile, the UNEP guidance states, “A lucrative industry has developed smuggling high value hardwoods to Pakistan.”
Khost province shares a 196-kilometer (120 mile) long border with the Kurram tribal agency of Pakistan.
“The illegal timber trade, though primarily focused in a few eastern provinces, plays an important role in on-going instability in the these areas,” said UNEP, “Creating a shadow economy which reaches across the border into Pakistan, and providing incentives for powerful groups profiting from the trade to perpetuate the instability and spoil peace-building initiatives.”
In UNEP’s as expressed by the July guidance, Afghanistan’s forest sector faces two separate challenges.
First, there is the challenge of reducing deforestation and competition for firewood.
This can take the form of increasing supply by planting woodlots and involving communities more closely in the management of their local forests.
Promoting alternative fuel sources and efficient cook stoves can reduce demand for fuel wood.
Then, UNEP suggests that “Comprehensive Approaches” be implemented to reduce trade in Afghan conflict timber.
“Timber from eastern Afghanistan has become a classic ‘conflict resource,’ the UN agency said.
“Excluding such conflict resources from international markets is complex.
A first step is to raise awareness of the impacts of the trade in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Gulf states, which are the initial destination for much of the timber.
Future steps would be to consider some kind of certification scheme that provides a market for the sustainably produced conflict-free timber.
Tuesday, September 03, 2013
Kabul (BNA) Afghan Minister of Mine leading a delegation left Kabul for Azerbaijan in an official visit today.
BNA correspondent reported from Kabul International Airport, the aim of the visit of Wahidullah Shahrani to Azerbaijan is to attract the investors of that country to invest in minerals oil and Gas sectors in our country.
The trip took place in invitation of Azerbaijan’s Energy and Industry Minister.
It should be said that previously, the Azerbaijan investors have invested in oil refining industry together with Afghan Group Company in the north of the country.
Tuesday, September 3, 2013
Kabul (BNA) The construction work of Balooch Shah Nader canal in Pashtonkot district of Faryab province started last year and put in exploitation the early months of the current year.
According to Agriculture Ministry publication department to BNA, the canal has been constructed by agriculture supporting projects for peace and re-integration of Agriculture Ministry, containing eight buildings.
The canal with 6 km length has been built at the cost of more than 1500,000 Afghanis.
With completion of the canal, the agriculture products of the region will be increased 30 per cent and prevent the flooding in the region.
The agriculture supporting project for peace was established in 2011 within the frame work of Agriculture Ministry and during the last two years the program has started the work of 16 irrigational projects in Herat, Baghlan, Faryab, Takhar and Kunduz provinces and so far succeeded to complete 10 of the projects and the work on other six projects will be completed during the current year.
Saturday, August 31, 2013
Kabul (BNA) To grow the sector of agriculture in the country, under the title of “Afghanistan Agriculture Production Factors (AAPF)” the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Husbandry to launch a project in the future.
According to BNA, in a meeting held on the same occasion, Minister of Agriculture Mohammad Asef Rahimi said with using $74.7 million donated by World Bank (WB) will be spent on providing wheat seeds, fertilizers, pesticide and better distribution of agriculture products with high quality are covered with this program.
Rahimi in a briefing told newsmen that the aim of this program is ensuring and accessing food immunity through the capacity building of the stuff and presenting the ministry’s services in the above sectors.
This program would be implemented within five years to achieve the aims mentioned earlier.
He added that through this project, ten research centers in agricultural farms of the country would be rehabilitated and be equipped with the system of analyzing of food items produced through using improved seeds, chemical fertilizer, and insecticides and herbicides and equip with laboratory.
Likewise, the laboratories diagnose the poisoned people, auditing mobile teams in capital and provinces for assessment of new imported pesticide and insecticide in borders of the country would be established.
At the briefing the head of operative board of WB in Kabul also informed the audience about the project.
It is mentionable what the agreement of assistance of WB $74.7 million was signed previously between ministry of finance and WB.