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Feb 14, 2012

Afghanistan - FAO's Irrigation Restoration & Development Project (IRDP) Aims to Restore Traditional Water Delivery Systems

Photo: ©FAO/Danfung Dennis
FAO is helping to rehabilitate Afghanistan’s traditional irrigation systems. Photo courtesy of the FAO
On 14 February 2012, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization issued a press release on its $27.7 million agreement with the Afghan Ministry of Energy and Water to provide technical assistance and training for the Irrigation Restoration and Development Project (IRDP). The project is primarily funded by a grant from the World Bank with an additional contribution from the Government of Afghanistan. 

The project will rehabilitate Afghanistan's traditional irrigation systems that are currently in disrepair.  The goal is to deliver more water to farmers so that they can increase their crop production. The irrigation systems are currently not functioning as they use to due to neglect and war damage.  

According to the Ministry of Energy and Water, "people were moving away from the rural areas, leaving no one to maintain the systems or transfer indigenous skills to the younger generation. When there was a flood, for instance, there was no one to repair or clean up damaged canals or dams. So farmers in rural areas were not able to get enough water to cultivate their fields."

It is projected that this IRDP rehabilitation project will increase water distribution by about 15 percent and possibly lead to an increase in the crop yield of 20 percent. Approximately 80 percent of the cultivated land is planted to wheat, a major staple for the Afghan population.  The irrigation project will provide more water and in turn it is hoped that this will increase wheat harvests and help address food security in Afghanistan.  This projection is based upon previous FAO irrigation projects undertaken between 2004-2011.  

About Margaret

CEO and Curator (The Food Museum) | Managing Director and Chief Editor (GR2 Global LLC) | Educator (UCLA PhD) | Researching and writing on global food issues, nutrition and health, sustainability, history (preservation), conservation (natural resources), and design.
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