Horticulture has always been of fundamental importance to the Afghan economy; it has played a central role in the past and is still very important for a stable and thriving society. Despite the fact that only 12% of Afghanistan’s total land is arable and only about 6% is currently cultivated, Afghanistan’s climatic conditions are highly favorable for many tree crops, vegetable species, and seed production. During the 1960s, Afghanistan was the world leader in raisin production, and during the 1960s and 1970s, the export of high-value horticultural products accounted for 48% of annual export revenue in Afghanistan. In the 1970s, annual exports averaged around US$600 million, of which 30% was dried fruits and 70% was fresh fruits. It is estimated that income derived from horticultural products was three to seven times that of wheat. However, the last few decades of conflicts has caused widespread destruction of agricultural infrastructure, especially to orchards, and irrigation systems. The rebuilding of horticulture will allow Afghanistan to rise once again and provide abundant employment opportunities and livelihoods for up to 80% of its population. This will result in a better economy and increased food security. The re-establishment of horticulture should focus on good quality products with increased production. Developing modern horticulture in Afghanistan, with all its components and elements, will be a significant challenge; nevertheless, it has great potential to contribute to the redevelopment of the economy in Afghanistan.
2016 by Agricultural and Forestry Research Center, University of Tsukuba