Afghanistan: Emergency Horticulture and Livestock Project (HLP)

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A. Background

1. Agriculture is central to the Afghan economy. The sector accounts for over 30 percent of the GDP and is a major source of employment of the labor force. A large majority of the population lives in rural areas which also harbor the highest incidence of poverty. Agricultural performance is thus pivotal for overall economic growth and poverty reduction and offers the only significant prospect for raising farmer incomes, contributing to food security, providing rural employment and reducing the vulnerability of resource poor rural people. The importance of agriculture to the Afghanistan economy and people has been recognized all along in various documents, starting from the Agricultural Master Plan in 2005 followed by the Interim Afghanistan National Development Strategy in 2006, the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock (MAIL) Strategy in 2007, the joint Agricultural and Rural Development strategy in January 2008, the ANDS in March 2008, and finally in the National Agricultural Development Framework (NADF) prepared in April 2009. After cereal and industrial crops, Horticulture and Livestock subsectors are recognized as the highest priorities, given Afghanistan's comparative advantage in these subsectors and their close linkage with exports and poverty reduction. The HLP was prepared in 2005 this context.