The Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock of Afghanistan (MAIL) said at a national meeting of Afghanistan’s Nursery Owners in Kabul that they are trying to become self-sufficient in the production of improved seed and certified saplings. The Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock, Assadullah Zamir, urged nursery owners to increase their investment in the sector in order to meet people’s needs for saplings, especially that of fruit trees. Zamir said currently the private sector has many opportunities to invest in agriculture. According to MAIL, Afghanistan needs two million fruit and non-fruit-bearing saplings a year, but currently nurseries around the country only produce 500,000 saplings a year. “There is a market for these saplings and gardeners need more. The capacity of nurseries should be enhanced in order to produce more saplings,” said Zamir. The focus of meeting was on expanding investment in agriculture, especially in the production of certified seedlings. A number of nursery owners meanwhile said if government stops importing low-quality saplings, they will build up their own capacities in this regard and eventually meet the demands of the public. “The main problem is importing low-quality saplings. If it is stopped, we can increase our production to meet the market demand,” said Zainuddin Noor, head of the Nursery Owners National Institution. According to the institution, currently large and small nurseries are active in 26 provinces in the country and they produce thousands of certified saplings every year.
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