Promoting Agricultural Development: Experts and Journalists Discuss Media’s Role
Balkh’s Director of the Department of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock (DAIL), Mr Zabihullah Zobin, emphasised: “Agriculture is the key to economic development with around 15 million people in Afghanistan depending on the sector for their livelihood. In addition, most of Afghanistan’s export-based income is obtained from agricultural products.”
Four expert panellists presented their views at the event. They concluded that Afghan media could best contribute to agricultural development by establishing a connection between farmers and government officials to ensure an information flow. Further, media could help transferring up-to-date knowledge to farmers and promote the sector by reporting on success stories.
Balkh’s Director of Agricultural Cooperatives, Mr Ghani Faqiryar, added: “Since 1954, Agricultural Cooperatives have also been supporting farmers in various aspects. Currently, Balkh Cooperatives works in different fields including dairy, processing edible oil and fruits.”
The Deputy Programme Director of the Afghan-German Cooperation’s programme Sustainable Economic Development Promotion (SEDEP), Mr Robert Glass, elaborated on media’s importance: “Communication is an important part of our work. It removes certain obstacles. We facilitate dialogues between stakeholders, including businesspersons, authorities and farmers. We have also conducted successful awareness campaigns, broadcasting audio spots via radio stations in Northern Afghanistan.”
In this regard, the Director of Nai - Supporting Open Media in Mazar-e Sharif, Ms Mobina Sai, said: “Media could contribute to people’s mobilisation for development. Even if illiterate, traditional media can support farmers by broadcasting educational programmes on agriculture.”
Later, the panellists entered a lively discussion and answered questions from the attending journalists. Mr Glass from the Afghan-German Cooperation explained how to access loans: “With the media’s support, a link between cooperatives and farmers could be established. This way, farmers could be informed about opportunities, including where to get loans. For example, farmers can apply for agricultural loans at the First Micro Finance Bank Afghanistan.”
Media Meetings are a series of regular events organised by the Afghan-German Cooperation in cooperation with journalist associations. These meetings bring together experts from the public sector, civil society, development organisations and media to discuss important development issues. So far, 16 meetings took place in Kabul, Mazar-e Sharif, Herat and Feyzabad. On average, about 80 media representatives participate in each session.