“Water plays key role in agriculture, especially for our country where the lives of 80% of the population depend on agriculture.”
Ghani: More Regional Cooperation on Water Issues Needed
Countries in the region should have more cooperation to prevent problems that arise because of a lack of water, President Ashraf Ghani said on Sunday at the 4th National Conference on Developing Water Strategy in Kabul.
He said it was of concern that the management of Afghanistan’s water resources was not worrying for neighbor countries.
On the first day of the conference, Ghani said the establishment of legal frameworks and bilateral and multilateral contracts between regional countries are needed to maintain the interests of all the regional countries in trans-border water resources.
“We all need to be assured that developing Afghanistan’s water is of benefit to us and the region. The principles guiding us in our management of water are our peoples’ interests, rescuing people from poverty and following international laws on water. Thus, we expect our neighboring countries not to be worried of establishment of dams and Water networks, instead, they should support it,” he said.
Ghani also said importing lots of agricultural products from others countries is a shame and that Afghanistan should become self-sufficient in this field.
“Water plays key role in agriculture, especially for our country where the lives of 80% of the population depend on agriculture. Unfortunately, we are one of the biggest importers of agricultural products. It is a national shame and this shame should be ended. Afghanistan should be an exporter of agricultural products, not an importer,” he added.
Ali Ahmad Osmani, minister of energy and water also said the ministry is preparing an outline of the country’s water resources management plan.
“The Water National Conference is the biggest event ever held in the country over the water issue. This conference is a good opportunity for discussing on water strategy, water management and water importance,” Osmani said.
India’s ambassador, donor organizations and other countries representatives in the meeting said they are ready to continue their support to Afghanistan in water management.
“We understand Afghanistan’s needs and your objectives as well as your national development priorities entirely. And that is the reason why one of the primary sectors of development partnership that we are engaged with in Afghanistan, is the water sector,” said Manpreet Vohra, India ambassador to Kabul.
“For the production of clean and renewable energy, currently and in the near future, this is an opportunity to build positive cooperation with the neighboring countries. The European Union is involved in water sector in the country,” said Morizian Chian, director of European Union Development Department.
Ghani also said he is worried of overuse of underground water and added that this year more money have been allocated for management of water zones in the country.