A new study on Afghanistan’s paddy fields show that there has been a four percent increase in Afghanistan's rice production as 352,000 tons of rice was harvested in the country last year.
Officials said the study took nine months. It was conducted by the Central Statistic Organization (CSO) in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock (MAIL) and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
The findings of the study show that the area of paddy fields has expanded by seven percent against 2017.
According to the findings, paddy fields include 170,000 hectares of land in 17 provinces. At least 47 percent of the 352,000 tons of rice was harvested in Kunduz province in the north of Afghanistan, the study shows.
“We estimated the fields by use of satellite images and meanwhile land survey was also used in this study,” said Noorullah Stanekzai, deputy head of the Central Statistics Organization on geographical information integration.
The Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock meanwhile said the use of different types of seeds, fertilized seeds and better irrigation have helped farmers to increase their crops.
“Farming products, vegetables and rice production have increased. The wheat harvests have decreased because they depend on rainfall,” MAIL spokesman Akbar Rustami said.
The survey reveals that domestic rice production can address over 61 percent of the needs for rice in the country.
Investors meanwhile said people mostly use imported rice due to lack of rice processing and standard factories in the country.
“Afghanistan lacks factories for rice production. Afghanistan’s rice is delicious but it is not available in local markets because they are not packaged like imported products,” said Nisar Ahmad, a local investor.
“It is better to use domestic rice production but the quality of imported rice is better therefore it is mostly used by the people,” said Maazallah, a Balkh resident.
The CSO statistics show that Afghanistan needs 574,000 tons of rice annually.