U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan William Wood says, "agriculture has never been more important to the future of Afghanistan, not only as an engine of development and improvement of lives, but also because the nation, which could be a net exporter of food, is facing a food shortage." Speaking at an agricultural fair in Kabul, Ambassador Wood noted, "tragically, some of Afghanistan's best lands are being diverted away from legitimate agricultural production by criminals, and many improvements, such as dams and irrigation, are being prevented by Taliban violence."
To help forestall a food shortage, the U.S. has already contributed more than ninety-thousand metric tons of food aid to Afghanistan and will contribute more before the snows arrive this winter.
And to help Afghanistan meets its long-term food needs, the U.S. is working with the Afghan government and the Afghan people to develop a comprehensive agricultural strategy. U.S. Department of Agriculture experts are stationed with Provincial Reconstruction Teams throughout the country to work with local communities to boost agricultural productivity and raise rural incomes. AgFairs, like the one in Kabul, are also part of this strategy. By promoting public-private partnerships and helping farmers to obtain better seeds and fertilizers, AgFairs are already responding to President Hamid Karzai's call to increase food production.