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Statements 2010

Grant Signing Ceremony: Agricultural Development Fund Talking Points: Ambassador Karl W. Eikenberry

July 21, 2010

“Support to the Afghan agricultural sector”

Salaam Alaikum.  Minister Rahimi, Minister Zakhilwal, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen. On behalf of the United States Government, I am pleased to be here today at the grant signing ceremony for the Agricultural Development Fund.

As mentioned by USAID Administrator, Dr. Rajiv Shah, the Agricultural Development Fund will provide the needed financing to farmers and agribusinesses to expand production.  In addition to financing, the Agricultural Development Fund will also provide technical advice to help farmers and agribusinesses find new market opportunities for Afghan agricultural products.

While we sit here today, it’s important to observe our surroundings.  This demonstration farm was largely destroyed until a few years ago.  In contrast, today we can observe a thriving farm that provides practical advice to farmers about new crop varieties and new farming techniques that increase agricultural production.

Crops grown on this farm are sold in markets as far away as Dubai and India.  We are determined to build on this success. 

In my extensive travels around Afghanistan, I have observed many agricultural areas that are striving to increase their productivity, thereby providing increased incomes for their families.  

In the past 8 years the US government has invested approximately $1.5 billion to provide farmers with better access to water resources, improved roads to access markets, new farm equipment, seed and many other forms of assistance.

We realize much work remains, but as Badam Bagh Farm has demonstrated by its successful revitalization, this success can be replicated in many other parts of Afghanistan. 

Today’s grant signing ceremony is an indication of the US government’s commitment to help the many small commercial farmers in Afghanistan to share in the success experienced at Badam Bagh Farm.

In the years to come, I look forward to visiting farms and agricultural businesses around the country that have expanded their enterprises with financing obtained from the new Agricultural Development Fund.