Embassy Hosts Signing Ceremony to Promote Afghan Agriculture

Mr. Jim Hershey, Executive Director of WISHH and Mr. Abdul Ghafoor, Chairman of OCGAA, sign their contract

January 23, 2012
Washington, DC

On January 20, 2012, The Embassy of Afghanistan hosted officials from the American Soybean Association's (ASA) World Initiative for Soy in Human Health (WISHH) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, as well as Afghan diplomats and business leaders, for a signing ceremony. Mr. Abdul Ghafoor, chairman of the Oil Crops Growers Association of Afghanistan (OCGAA), signed a contract with Mr. Jim Hershey, Executive Director of WISHH, demonstrating the beginning of OCGAA's efforts to advance the production of oil crops, such as soybeans, and create a self-sufficient oil-crop market in Afghanistan.

The initiative is part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food for Progress, a three-year soy value-chain project with ASA's WISHH. The mission of WISHH is to create sustainable solutions for the protein demands of people in developing countries through the introduction and use of soy products.

This collaboration between the American Soybean Association (ASA) and the Oil Growers Association of Afghanistan (OCGAA) represents a significant step in Afghanistan's agricultural development. The increased growth of soybeans will benefit farmers, positively affect nutrition and improve the quality of feed for livestock.

Moreover, soybean crop will provide an alternative to poppy growers. As Ambassador Hakimi noted in his remarks, "I'm sure that soybeans will contribute not only to the economy and agricultural development of Afghanistan, but more importantly, it will have a positive implication for the security of our country."

The Embassy of Afghanistan was honored to host this signing ceremony and is confident that this new partnership will make a valuable contribution to Afghanistan's agricultural development.