Regional Agro Food Industry Development

Regional Agro Food Industry Development

 Recent studies have shown that creating regional agricultural value chains that are inclusive, productive, and sustainable can contribute to the design of a scalable and replicable private sector-led development model across borders within a regional context. Such a model would help countries at the intersection of Central, South, and Southwest Asia: i) improve national trade balances and complementarities between Afghanistan and its neighbors; ii) create sustainable jobs; iii) ensure food security; and iv) increase regional economic integration, productivity and connectivity. Within Greater Central Asia, for instance, researchers identified the three agro food products of fruits, nuts, and vegetables for value chain development, increasing profitability, and expanding market access. Specifically, the countries of Afghanistan, the Kyrgyz Republic, and Tajikistan, for example, present the features of respective value chains from primary agricultural production to the final consumer, and their features ensure that the development of value chains is feasible in terms of realities, opportunities, and dynamics of each individual market compared to that of international markets beyond the three countries. In connection with Afghanistan’s National Comprehensive Agricultural Development Priority Program, presented to the October 2016 Brussels Conference on Afghanistan, support for Regional Agro Food Industry Development will support specific components of this National Priority Program, including components dealing with wheat and other cereals, horticulture, food and nutrition security, credit, private sector support and PPPs.

 Current Status

Following the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding by Afghanistan, the Kyrgyz Republic, and Tajikistan (AKT), in October 2015, in Dushanbe in support of the development of an Afghanistan-Kyrgyz Republic-Tajikistan Agro Food Industry Development project, a comprehensive feasibility study, financed by UNDP and the Government of Turkey, was subsequently initiated and its findings were endorsed during a meeting of the Consortium, in February 2016, in Bishkek. This analytical and diagnostic work provides the most detailed assessment of the agro-food industry in the three AKT countries to date, and it identifies a set of concrete investment areas at the micro, meso, and macro levels. This project, along with other efforts to promote Regional Agro Food Industry Development, could serve to reinforce the Afghan Government’s National Comprehensive Agricultural Development Priority Program. Together, they also have the potential to serve as a bulwark in providing Alternative Development (AD) opportunities to farmers in Afghanistan and across the region. AD and its close connection to regional economic cooperation will be explored further by the UNODC and regional countries and partners, on 16 and 17 November 2017 immediately following RECCA-VII in Ashgabat.

Budget & Funding Status n/a
Institutional Partners Afghanistan and its neighbors (Ministries of Agriculture, other Ministries/Agencies dealing with alternative development  and Chambers of Commerce and Industries), UNDP, UNODC

Recommended Actions by RECCA-VII and Beyond:

  • Explore new avenues of regional cooperation on agro food industry development including in connection with alternative development
  • Reconvene the tri-partite consortium for reviewing the Afghanistan-Kyrgyz Republic-Tajikistan Agro Food Industry Development project based on the findings of the feasibility study and undertake the next phase value-chain development, allowing for a more coordinated approach to regional agricultural product development in Central Asia.