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Wheat Production Increases in Afghanistan

Two reports from the U.S. Department of Agriculture have found that wheat production will increase and wheat imports will decrease in Afghanistan over the course of 2009 and 2010.

According to the May 2009 "World Agricultural Report," wheat production for 2009 and 2010 is expected to climb to 3 million metric tons, double the production of 2008 and 2009. At the same time, the report "Grain: World Markets and Trade" finds that wheat imports will be cut in half, declining from 3 million metric tons to 1.5 million metric tons over the same time period.

The increase in production comes at a key time, as opium production is expected to decrease further in 2009 and agriculture has become a central part of the new strategy for promoting development and security in Afghanistan.

During recent trilateral discussions in Washington, Afghanistan's Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock Muhammad Asif Rahimi joined his Pakistani counterpart and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack to discuss a number of issues related to agriculture, including trade corridors, food security, water management and watershed rehabilitation. After the discussions Secretary Vilsack announced $27.5 million in agricultural assistance to Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Minister Rahimi again visited Washington on May 18-19, meeting with Secretary Vilsack, Acting USAID Administrator Alonzo Fulgham and Senator Christopher Bond (R-Mo.).

Related News: World Agricultural Production, May 2009 (.PDF)

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