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Agriculture contributed to approximately 23.0% of Afghanistan’s gross domestic product (GDP) USD 20.0 billion in 2014 (The World Bank, 2015). Of the country’s total area, approximately 12.0% is arable land with a further 46% under pastures (CSOA, 2015). The major crops grown are wheat with a production of 5.4 million tons, vegetables particularly potatoes and beets with a total production of 351,587 tons alongside various different fruits such as apple, pomegranates, apricots, mulberries, grapes and almonds and livestock (CSOA, 2015).

A major issue that plagues the agriculture sector in Afghanistan is the widespread opiates production accounting for 13.0% of the country’s GDP in 2014 (Islamic Republic of Afghanistan & United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), 2015). Opium production, while only extending to 3.0% of land area used for agriculture, plays a major role in many rural economies; for example, opium production accounted for 30.0% of total area of agricultural land in Helmand province of Afghanistan in 2014 (Islamic Republic of Afghanistan & UNODC, 2015).

The main reason behind widespread opium production is the high profit yields from small parcels of land, a factor that is fuelled by increasing poverty and a growing inability to meet basic household needs (Islamic Republic of Afghanistan & UNODC, 2015). The ongoing humanitarian crisis and conflict in the country has also taken its toll on agriculture production, which has been further affected by droughts, widespread poverty and a lack of proper infrastructure.

Undoubtedly, the agriculture sector is critical to the Afghan economy and it development can greatly facilitate the country’s recovery following years of war and conflict. Improving agricultural productivity of high value and staple crops will also reduce poverty. Consequently, over the years, CHA has implemented more than 30 agricultural projects such as water management, agricultural value chain, grape value chain, agricultural improvement and food security, agricultural technical support, increased productivity of agricultural products, etc. in Kabul, Herat, Farah, Balkh, Faryab, Ghor, Kandahar, Helmand and Samangan provinces. Its continued involvement in the agriculture sector, therefore, is crucial to both its vision and mission.