Reconstructing Agriculture in Afghanistan

ISBN 978-185339-634-2

Edited by Adam Pain and Jacky Sutton

Co-published with FAO


 
 

 


 

 

Abstract

Discussions led by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations at the 2003 FAO Tivoli Workshop 'Food security in complex emergencies: Building policy frameworks to address longer-term programming challenges' clearly pointed to the need for more evidence-based research to support interventions in complex crisis situations. FAO, with over 50 years of continued presence in Afghanistan, commissioned this book to examine Afghanistan's especially complex and fascinating case. Expert authors from a wide variety of disciplines pulled together their insights to make sure the evidence presented is multi-dimensional.

This book was designed to address two main issues. First, to review the current understanding of agriculture and food security issues in Afghanistan, to synthesize what was known and not known, and how evidence was built at the beginning of the 21st century. Second, to bring together lessons on the natureand practice of interventions in support of food security and agriculture particularly in the post-2001 period. The findings are a testimony to what worked and did not work, and they explore wider implications for future practice in building food security under conditions of political instability. One of the key messages emerging from this book is that programming interventions in complex crisis situations calls for a paradigm shift.

While most interventions in Afghanistan concentrated on improving food availability through food aid and increasing agricultural inputs, evidence shows that access - including access to land, markets and social networks - was not given the high priority it deserved. Furthermore, this book's close examination of access related issues reveals a gap in the understanding of the Afghan people's extraordinary resilience. In their introduction, Pain and Sutton point out that 'Afghans have been anything but passive and static, adopting brilliant, innovative and unorthodox strategies to secure food, livelihoods and stability in a shifting and insecure environment'.

Pre-2001 Afghanistan has been widely represented as 25 years of war and devastation, leaving a post-conflict reconstruction agenda to start with a clean slate. This analysis has ignored the nature of Afghanistan, its complexity and its fundamental resilience. Through a critical analysis of key aspects of the rural community and drivers of change, including the opium poppy economy, this book critically explores assumptions made about Afghanistan as a crisis state and post-conflict environment, reconstruction agendas and practice, and considers the limitation of the response of the international community. Bringing together papers by key practitioners and food security analysts, this book provides an important reference for operational agencies and researchers.

Published in association with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

Commendations

Opium and nutrition.. food security and military insecurity.. ethnicity and the transit economy..warlords and merchants..the militarisation of relief and development.. pathbreaking practical contribution and an exciting and rich compliment to development studies.

While public attention is fixed on Afghanistan as a political and military running sore, this multidisciplinary team has patiently researched the implications of its agro-pastoral economy for food security. They have also critically explored the production of knowledge and ignorance in outside interventions and local developmental responses. They have done so with the acumen, courage, social and intellectual engagement that those gaining livelihoods in rural Afghanistan deserve. The result is a pathbreaking practical contribution and an exciting and rich compliment to development studies.

Prof. Barbara Harriss-White, Director, Queen Elizabeth House, 3, Mansfield Road, Oxford OX1 3TB, UK


About the editors

Adam Pain is a Visiting Professor (Rural Development South) in the Department of Urban and Rural Development, Swedish University of Agricultural Science (SLU), Uppsala and a Senior Research fellow at the School of Development Studies, University of East Anglia (UK), where he was a faculty member between 1976 and 1987. He has been working in Afghanistan since February 2001 with the Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit on livelihood change and natural resource management issues. With SLU he is developing and teaching on the Masters Programme in Rural Development at Hue Agricultural University, Vietnam. He has considerable experience of training and capacity development, programme management and monitoring.

Jacky Sutton is a former BBC journalist who has spent many years in the Horn of Africa training print, broadcast and photojournalists. She was the Information Officer for FAO's emergency programme in Afghanistan in 2002 and has worked at FAO on food security information in protracted crises. She currently heads the communication and information programme for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan and Turkmenistan, based in Tehran. She has worked with several NGOs and other UN agencies on local capacity building and communication for development in countries ranging from Eritrea to Bosnia. She is also an experienced web designer, writer and editor and has published articles on rural livelihoods, HIV/AIDS, information and development, as well as co-editing a book on civil society organizations in Eritrea. She has a BA from Warwick University in English Literature and Spanish, an MA from the University of London in Constitutional Law, and is currently enrolled in a Ph.D. programme with the School of Oriental and African Studies, London, in Media Anthropology.

About the contributors

Annalies Borrel is currently working as a lecturer and research fellow in Public Nutrition at the Feinstein International Famine Center at Tufts University. She has been involved with emergency food security and nutrition programmes for the past 11 years, largely in the capacity of a technical and policy adviser with a number of different NGOs and UN agencies. She has worked in Angola, Mozambique, Rwanda, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Burundi, southern Sudan, Kenya, North Korea, Albania, Kosovo and most recently in Pakistan and Afghanistan. In addition to operational research and teaching responsibilities at the university, she is also involved in capacity development and training initiatives, such as the development of training materials for the United Nations International Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the Sphere Project. Between April 2002 and April 2004, she was based in Afghanistan as the senior food security and nutrition adviser to the interim Government of Afghanistan. Her role within the Ministry of Health included establishing a Public Nutrition Department and developing policies, guidelines and human resource capacity.

Ian Christoplos is a researcher at the Department of Rural Development and Agroecology at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences and an associate researcher with the Overseas Development Institute in London. His work focuses on issues related to risk, humanitarian assistance, rural development and agricultural services. His interests centre on policy formation for poverty reduction and supporting the role of local institutions in turbulent contexts. He has worked as a researcher and practitioner in both development cooperation and humanitarian assistance in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Western Balkans. He is the co-editor, together with John Farrington, of Poverty, Vulnerability and Agricultural Extension: Policy Reforms in an Era of Globalization, published by Oxford University Press in 2004.

Charlotte Dufour is presently working with FAO as a Household Food Security, Nutrition and Livelihoods Adviser to the Afghan Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Husbandry and Food (MAAHF). She has been a researcher and trainer with Groupe URD (Urgence-Réhabilitation-Développement), returning regularly to Afghanistan as part of the Quality Project multi-sectoral evaluation team. Her activities included elaborating the Quality COMPAS. As part of the Active Learning Network for Accountability and Performance in Humanitarian Action's (ALNAP) Participation Study, she carried out an Afghanistan case study, a francophone literature review and is co-author of the Practitioner Handbook. She has also been involved in capacity building work on food security and nutrition in Afghanistan's MAAHF and in the Ministry of Public Health, and has worked as a nutritionist with Action Contre la Faim in Afghanistan and Ethiopia. She has a BA in Human Sciences from Oxford University and a M.Sc. in Public
Health Nutrition from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

Anthony Fitzherbert has been involved with Afghanistan and surrounding countries, including Iran, Pakistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, for nearly 40 years. Most recently, he was Alternative Livelihoods adviser to the Minister of Rural Reconstruction and Development in Kabul, helping to coordinate rural development programmes working on opium poppy related issues. From 1986 to 1995, he was FAO Country Project Officer for Afghanistan and has returned on frequent missions on behalf of international organizations and NGOs. In Afghanistan, he has worked in emergency post-war conflict situations, particularly in transforming emergency relief into sustainable agricultural production. This included setting up and managing FAO's Afghanistan Agricultural Rehabilitation Programme. Anthony has travelled extensively in rural Afghanistan. He has an M.Sc. in Agricultural Extension and Rural Development from Reading University.

Margarita Flores has a Ph.D. (3ème cycle) from Paris I University.

Wendy Johnecheck joined the Afghanistan Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development in 2004 to work on a joint European Commission (EC)/United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) initiative to support the development of poverty and food security information systems. Prior to this, she piloted a national-level food security and nutrition surveillance system in Afghanistan with Save the Children US. She is currently carrying out consultancy work with the Feinstein International Famine Center while finishing her doctoral research in Afghan grain markets. Wendy holds an M.Sc. in Food Policy and Nutrition from Tufts University.

Sarah Lister is a policy adviser and researcher whose recent work has focused on governance issues, particularly the political economy of post-conflict reconstruction, the politics of local government reform and the implications of decentralization, the reform of public administration, the political representation of marginalized groups and the role of civil society in policy processes. From 2003 to 2006 she was Senior Researcher, Political Economy and Governance, at the Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit in Kabul. In recent years, she has also worked at the Institute of Development Studies, Sussex (UK), and as Consultant to the World Bank, DFID, the Disasters Emergency Committee (UK) and international NGOs. Sarah holds a BA from Cambridge University, and M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees in Social Policy from the London School of Economics.

David Mansfield currently works as an independent consultant, advising a range of bilateral, multilateral and non-government organizations on both policy and operational issues with regard to illicit drugs in Afghanistan and on 'alternative livelihoods' in particular. He has 14 years experience in overseas drugs and development issues, working in each of the major drug producing regions of South and South East Asia, and Latin America. Throughout his career he has taken a pro-active approach to the drugs issue, seeking to inform policy development through generating a clearer understanding of the dynamics of the illicit drugs industry and documenting the overlap between conventional development and drug control agendas. He has also undertaken pioneering work in Afghanistan in defining the role of opium poppy in rural livelihood strategies and the dynamics of the farmgate trade in opium since 1997. His published work has sought to contextualize drugs as a development issue, and in particular has focused on developing pro-poor approaches to alternative development.

Mauro Migotto is an independent consultant specializing in food security, nutrition, vulnerability and poverty analysis, using both qualitative and quantitative methodologies. He holds a degree in Political Science from the University of Milan and a M.Phil. in Development Studies from the Institute of Development Studies at the University of Sussex. Currently, he is a Ph.D. candidate at the Department of Agricultural and Food Economics at the University of Reading, working on the spatial analysis of food insecurity. He has both field (Central America, Guinea-Conakry and the Philippines) and research experience (IDS, FAO/World Bank), mainly related to project management and analysis for food security, food aid and nutrition. He has also published a paper on subjective and objective food security indicators from household budget surveys with the Economic and Social Division (ESA) of FAO and a chapter on world nutrition for a forthcoming FAO publication (World Nutrition: Towards 2015-2030) of the Global Perspective Studies Unit (ESDG).


Adam Pain is a Visiting Professor (Rural Development South) in the Department of Urban and Rural Development, Swedish University of Agricultural Science (SLU), Uppsala and a Senior Research fellow at the School of Development Studies, University of East Anglia (UK), where he was a faculty member between 1976 and 1987. He has been working in Afghanistan since February 2001 with the Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit on livelihood change and natural resource management issues. With SLU he is developing and teaching on the Masters Programme in Rural Development at Hue Agricultural University, Vietnam. He has considerable experience of training and capacity development, programme management and monitoring.


Andrew Pinney was trained in both natural resource management and applied statistics, and has worked in the fields of agroforestry, forestry, rural livelihoods and food security in post-emergency rehabilitation in Africa, Asia and Latin America. From 2003 to 2005, he was the National Risk and Vulnerability Adviser to the Afghanistan government. His duties included the development and implementation of poverty and vulnerability assessment methodologies and capacity building for ministry staff. In Afghanistan, he also worked for GOAL as a Food Security Coordinator. He has been a consultant for the British Red Cross
in Honduras and Mozambique and a researcher at the Bradford Centre for International Development and the International Centre for Research in Agroforestry in Kenya. He has a Ph.D. in Applied Statistics and an M.Sc. in Tropical Agricultural Development, both from Reading University.

Scott Ronchini is currently the head of the Vulnerability Analysis and Mapping (VAM) Unit of the World Food Programme of the United Nations (WFP) in Afghanistan. VAM is primarily responsible for designing and implementing food security assessments and developing monitoring and early warning systems to provide WFP decision makers in Afghanistan with information on food insecurity and vulnerability necessary to design and implement its food aid operations. Before heading the Unit, he coordinated the six-month helicopterassisted multi-sectoral Rapid Emergency Needs assessment in the northern regions of Afghanistan. He has also been involved in several WFP food security and emergency assessments in the Asian, Central Asian and East African regions. Before working for the WFP, he was involved in wildlife management and research, including working on community-based nature conservation development programmes in South Africa. Scott Ronchini is trained in Environmental Development and Natural Resource Management, with experience in livelihood, emergency and environmental impact assessment.

Elizabeth Stites is a Visiting Scholar at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, Tufts University (2005-6), and has worked with the Feinstein International Famine Center at Tufts since 2002. She is currently working on a multi-year project with the Famine Center analyzing the regional and comparative dimensions of the conflicts in northern Uganda, eastern Uganda, and south Sudan. She has worked as a consultant to a variety of agencies, focusing primarily on international humanitarian policy and livelihoods in conflict. She has worked in South Africa, Mozambique, Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda, Kenya, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Afghanistan, Bosnia and Serbia. Elizabeth Stites holds a BA from Wesleyan University, a MA from the University of Cape Town, South Africa, and a MALD from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University.

Jacky Sutton is a former BBC journalist who has spent many years in the Horn of Africa training print, broadcast and photojournalists. She was the Information Officer for FAO's emergency programme in Afghanistan in 2002 and has worked at FAO on food security information in protracted crises. She currently heads the communication and information programme for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan and Turkmenistan, based in Tehran. She has worked with several NGOs and other UN agencies on local capacity building and communication for development in countries ranging from Eritrea to Bosnia. She is also an experienced web designer, writer and editor and has published articles on rural livelihoods, HIV/AIDS, information and development, as well as co-editing a book on civil society organizations in Eritrea. She has a BA from Warwick University in English Literature and Spanish, an MA from the University of London in Constitutional Law, and is currently enrolled in a Ph.D. programme with the School of Oriental and African Studies, London, in Media Anthropology.

Alberto Zezza is an Economist with the Agricultural and Development Economics Division of FAO. He has also worked as a consultant for the World Bank and the WFP. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of Rome La Sapienza and a Masters from the University of Sussex. His current research interests are in the areas of poverty and food insecurity measurement and analysis, household surveys, transaction cost analysis and migration.

Table of contents

Introduction 

1. Afghanistan: the context
 Adam Pain
2. Rural resilience and diversity across Afghanistan's agricultural landscapes
Anthony Fitzherbert
3. Rural livelihoods in Afghanistan
Adam Pain
4. The evolution of food security information in Afghanistan: a case of limited 'availability', 'access' and 'utilization'
Wendy Johnecheck
5. Towards a public nutrition response in Afghanistan: evolutions in nutritional assessment and response
Charlotte Dufour and Annalies Borrel
6. Food security in Afghanistan after 2001: from assessment to analysis and interpretation to response
Andrew Pinney and Scott Ronchini
7. Narratives of rehabilitation in Afghan agricultural interventions
Ian Christoplos
8. Afghan women, Afghan livelihoods
Elizabeth Stites
9. 'Economical with the truth': the limits of price and profitability in both explaining opium poppy cultivation
inAfghanistan and in designing effective responses
David Mansfield
10. Markets in Afghanistan
Adam Pain and Sarah Lister
11. Towards a framework for agricultural development and
food security in Afghanistan
Alberto Zezza and Mauro Migotto
12. Responding to food insecurity: could we have done it better?
Margarita Flores

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