Afghanistan Agriculture and Fishing Overview
Agriculture and fishing
Agriculture has traditionally been the backbone of the Afghan economy, but degraded cultivation opportunities during the war years and a large influx of cities have led to a significant reduction in the importance of the industry. For thousands of peasants it has been an irresistible allure to cultivate the durable and lucrative opium poppy under the harsh conditions of the war.
Agriculture accounts for just over a fifth of Afghanistan's GDP and employs around 60-80 percent of the economically active population. Only about a tenth of the land area is cultivable, and the lack of water means that only half of the cultivable area is actually used for agriculture.
Yet, for good years, Afghan agriculture has provided for the entire population. However, during the many war years, irrigation systems have largely been destroyed. The problems in agriculture are compounded by a lack of both seeds and fertilizers as well as tools and draft animals. It is still sometimes dangerous to go out to pasture and cultivated fields because of the risk of mines.
Nowadays Afghanistan is dependent on food aid and imports for its livelihood. The most important food crops that are grown are cereals, mainly wheat, rice, maize and barley. A lot of fruit, potatoes and cotton are also grown.
Conflicts on Earth
Livestock farming has traditionally been of great economic importance, especially for many nomadic peoples. However, armed conflicts and periods of severe drought have greatly reduced the size of the stock.
Certain fishing is carried out in rivers and lakes but is not of great importance to the public. Several hundred fish farms were created during the 21st century.
Forestry is very limited. The forest stock that existed before the war is almost gone. The trees have been cut down indiscriminately for the sake of the timber and to create agricultural lands, or the forest has been destroyed by bombings.
The large population movements during the war years (see Population and languages) created uncertainty about the ownership of the land. Many farmers have returned home and found that others have taken over their land. Conflicts over land have also hampered production.
The world's largest opium producer
Every tenth of afghans is somehow calculated to rely on opium management. The easy-care opium poppy gives significantly more money to the grower than other crops. For example, Opium provides almost twelve times more money than grain.
The Taliban largely base their economy on opium. Data claims that they earn $ 100-200 million annually to tax opium production and trade. The Taliban long regarded opium abuse as a Western problem and did not want the communists to draw on the anger of rural people through harsh interventions in their way of life. A turnaround came when Afghanistan also had problems with opium- or heroin-dependent adolescents.
The Taliban leadership also sought to break its political isolation by offering interventions against the opium crops. The leader, Mohammad Omar, issued a ban on opium in 2000 and was immediately obeyed. From the 1999 record figure of around 4,500 tonnes, opium production in 2001 dropped to just 185 tonnes on Taliban controlled land. However, the earnings remained good; the reduced supply led to a sharp rise in the price of crude opium.
After the fall of the Taliban in 2001, the ban did not have the same effect. Opium production increased steadily and was estimated by the UN in 2007 to 8,200 tonnes, which accounted for 93 percent of world production. Ten years later, Afghanistan accounted for an approximately equal share of opium production in the world. The value of the opium that leaves the country each year is estimated at $ 3-4 billion.
It is not only the Taliban who make money in the opium trade. Warlords, criminal networks, smugglers and a lot of others are also included in it. Opium money is believed to account for much of the funding of the armed uprising against the state and foreign troops. Hundreds of tons of opium and heroin leave the country each year. Corruption, lawlessness and unguarded borders mean that only a small proportion are seized before it reaches the outside world.
Since 2001, the United States has invested $ 8.6 billion in combating opium production in Afghanistan, and despite that, the fight has so far been a failure. After the foreign troop withdrawal in 2014, with subsequent escalation of the conflict, opium production has grown substantially. As large parts of the country have become inaccessible to international efforts, the destruction of opium crops has decreased year by year. As of 2017, the US military and the Afghan government have focused on bombing heroin factories, but these only seem to have moved to more inaccessible areas. It only takes three, four days to set up a new laboratory.
Opium production has also spread across an ever larger area of the country. In 2018, poppies were grown in 24 of the 34 provinces. Helmand in the south alone stands for almost half the harvest.
This widespread illegal opium production has devastating global consequences. Opium trading is estimated to have created a market worth tens of billions of dollars. The money goes to finance international terrorism, keeps millions of people drug-addicted, and the abuse requires up to 100,000 lives each year, according to the UN.
FACTS - AGRICULTURE
Agriculture's share of GDP
20.5 percent (2017)
Percentage of land used for agriculture
58.1 percent (2016)
Mass murder of Shiites
At least 58 people are killed and about 170 injured in blast attacks against Shi'ite Muslims in Kabul and Mazar-i-Sharif during the Shiite festival of Ashura. Most people fall victim to a suicide bomber in a mosque in Kabul.
Promises of ten years of continued support
At a conference in Bonn, the outside world promises to support Afghanistan materially for ten years after the international troop uprising in 2014. In return, Afghanistan has to be much better controlled than hitherto.
Alarms about torture in the detention centers
A UN report raises alarm about widespread torture of prisoners in the detention of the Afghan Security Service and police. A pre-publication of the report causes the NATO leadership to stop handing over arrests to the Afghan authorities in parts of the country.
On September 20, the President of the Peace Council, former President Burhanuddin Rabbani, was killed in a suicide attack.
First Americans go home
The US troop reduction is scheduled to start in mid-month, to a modest extent.
The Governor leaves the country
Central Bank Governor Abdul Qadir Fitrat flees to the United States and announces his departure. He claims that he was threatened to life for naming high-ranking people in parliament who have been involved in a corruption scandal surrounding Kabul Bank, with close ties to the Afghan government (see also Finance).
The United States is planning its troop retreat
US President Barack Obama announces that US troop retreat will begin in July. By the end of the year, 10,000 soldiers will be taken home.
Mass escape from prison
Nearly 500 Taliban manage to escape from Kandahar prison through a tunnel. Over 100 of the evacuees are described as commanders of the Taliban army.
UN personnel lynched to death
Seven UN employees, including a Swedish lawyer, are killed when a crowd attacks the UN office in Mazar-i-Sharif. The Taliban say they have been behind the attack, which should have been caused by an American pastor burning a copy of Islam's holy book of the Qur'an. In the following days, at least 17 more people were killed in unrest around the country.
Suicide attacks in the north
The violence is escalating in Kunduz in the north. The provincial police chief is killed by a suicide bomber on a motorcycle. Four days later, 36 people were killed and 42 injured in a suicide attack against one of the army's recruitment centers.
Charges against the NATO Force
According to the Afghan government, 65 civilians in Kunduz province have been killed by soldiers from the NATO-led Isaf force, carrying out an offensive using Apache helicopters. Most of the victims must have been women and children. Isaf rejects the information, saying that some 30 rebels have been killed.