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Dole Foods Pledges Support for Afghanistan’s Agriculture Development

On April 23, President Hamid Karzai received Mr. David Murdock, owner and CEO of Dole Foods Company. Mr. Murdock expressed his intention to explore a major Dole presence in Afghanistan.

Dole Food Company, Inc. is the world's largest producer and marketer of high-quality fresh fruit, fresh vegetables and fresh-cut flowers. In 2006, the company earned revenues of $6.2 billion. Dole markets a growing line of packaged foods and frozen fruit and is a produce industry leader in nutrition education and research. Dole does business in more than 90 countries and employs an average of 36,000 full-time, regular employees and an additional 23,000 full-time seasonal employees.

Mr. Murdock came to Afghanistan at the request of President Bush and visited Bagram and Mazar-e-Sharif. He also visited Afghanistan’s Agricultural Fair, the first of its kind held in many years. AgFair was attended by 86 companies, many of them local. The fair included demonstrations of the latest farming techniques and equipment, livestock competition, and produce, cold storage and processing equipment displays. Participants included representatives from the ministry's departments and regional offices, equipment manufacturers, agro-processing firms, fertilizers and seed dealers, carpet dealers, dried fruit and nut processors, livestock and poultry businesses, wool and cashmere traders, irrigation suppliers, storage vendors, transportation and telecommunication companies, banks and universities.

Afghanistan's major agriculture exports include dried and fresh fruits, as well as carpets, wool and nuts. Approximately 80% of Afghanistan's 26 million people are employed in the agriculture sector. Agriculture accounts for 53 % of the country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

At the fair’s opening ceremony, Minister for Agriculture and Livestock Abidullah Ramin said: "The Afghan government wants to enhance agricultural products and encourage private sector investment in this field."

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