Japan has pledged to provide $8.7 million grant to improve agricultural value chain in western Herat province of Afghanistan.
"The Project approximately worth $ 8.77 million funded by the Government of Japan will support farmers and communities to better access markets and enhance the agricultural value chains in Herat," the Japan embassy in Kabul said in a statement.
The project could benefit more than 300,000 Afghan people, the statement said.
The project document titled "Project for Improvement of Agricultural Value Chain in Herat" was signed by Kenji Enoshita, Charge d’Affaires ad interim of Embassy of Japan to Afghanistan and Mohammad Haider Reza, Director a.i. United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) at Japan embassy in Kabul.
At the ceremony attended by government officials, Mohammad Haider Reza, UNOPS Afghanistan Director a.i. said: “This project is very important for farmers and the people of Herat and for Afghanistan economy and its people as a whole,"
"The project will enable the farmers to have easy access to markets and to store their products according to accepted standards until they find their ways to other parts of the country,"
"UNOPS is pleased to work closely with the Ministry of Economy and the Government of Japan on this innovative and critical development partnership," Reza added.
For his part, Kenji Enoshita said: “by finding new markets for the agricultural products of this country, they can not only feed the local population but also bring wealth to the entire Afghan nation as well as to the villages where they are produced."
"Fortunately, Afghanistan is very rich in horticulture products, such as almonds, pomegranates, pistachios, raisins, apricots and saffron, to name just a few. Afghanistan can promote its high-quality agricultural products to the world by improving or formulating the agricultural value chain, just as it did before the wars," he added.
Due for completion in March 2019, two of the city’s largest produce markets in Herat will be rehabilitated, in addition to the construction of a cool storage facility, agricultural exhibition, and training facility, community bazaar in Injil district of Herat.
Once the project is completed, it is expected that local producers/farmers’ income will be increased and approximately 360,000 road users to have better access to the markets and the city.
Japan has been assisting Afghanistan in various fields including security, education, health, culture, humanitarian assistance, agriculture, infrastructure and capacity development.
Earlier a week ago, the country has pledged to provide $3.3 million for the support of city resilience project in Kabul and northern Balkh provinces.