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Cablegate: The Magnificent Seven Agricultural Fairs In

VZCZCXRO1705
PP RUEHIK RUEHPOD RUEHPW RUEHYG
DE RUEHBUL #4211/01 3631250
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 291250Z DEC 07
FM AMEMBASSY KABUL
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2048
INFO RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHINGTON DC 0576
RUCNAFG/AFGHANISTAN COLLECTIVE
RUEHZG/NATO EU COLLECTIVE
RUEKJCS/OSD WASHINGTON DC
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC
RUEABND/DEA HQS WASHINGTON DC
RHMFIUU/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL
RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHINGTON DC
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 4330

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 05 KABUL 004211

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR SCA/FO, SCA/RA, AND SCA/A
DEPT PASS AID/ANE
DEPT PASS USTR FOR GERBER AND KLEIN
DEPT PASS OPIC FORZAHNISER
DEPT PASS TDA FOR STEIN AND GREENIP
CENTCOM FOR CSTC-A
NSC FOR JWOOD
TREASURY FOR LMCDONALD, ABAUKOL, BDAHL, AND MNUGENT
OSD FOR SHIVERS
COMMERCE FOR DEES, CHOPPIN, AND FONOVICH

E.O.12958: N/A
TAGS: EINV EFIN ENRG ETRD ECON AF
SUBJECT: THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN AGRICULTURAL FAIRS IN
AFGHANISTAN IN 2007

-------
SUMMARY
-------

1. USAID hosted seven successful Agricultural Fairs (AgFairs)
in CY 2007 with a variety of partners. Nearly
300,000 people attended the two national AgFairs
held in Kabul and five regional AgFairs held in the
provinces of Helmand, Nangarhar, Badakhshan, Balkh,
and Herat. Agricultural professionals ranging from
farmers to farm equipment suppliers and
veterinarians had the opportunity to network and
gain information that they can apply to improving
their farms and agri-businesses. On October 24,
2007, at the Second National AgFair in Kabul, U.S.
Ambassador William Wood unveiled the plaque to
officially inaugurate the adjacent 57-hectare
demonstration farm that was built through
the support of USAID. Events took place without
security incidents due to cooperation between USAID,
the Regional Security Office, ISAF Headquarters,
Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs), U.S.
Military, and local police and security forces.
Local and international press coverage was
extensive and positive. End summary.

----------------
WHAT IS AGFAIR?
----------------

2. AgFair is an agricultural trade show and festival
co-sponsored by the Ministry of Agriculture,
Irrigation and Livestock (MAIL), the Afghanistan
International Chamber of Commerce (AICC) and USAID.
The purpose of the fair is to boost private sector
agriculture initiatives, educate farmers on modern
farming techniques and raise the profile of the
Ministry of Agriculture.

3. AgFair is an excellent example of the public-
private partnerships beginning to spring up in
Afghanistan. In addition to MAIL, USAID and AICC,
several diverse corporate sponsors supported AgFairs
including: Kam Air (Airlines), Tolo/Lemar/Arman
(Media), Coca Cola (Beverage), Case New Holland
(Agricultural and Construction equipment), Cristal
Water (Beverage) and the Serena Hotel (Hospitality).

------------------------------------
WHERE? NATIONAL AND REGIONAL AGFAIRS
------------------------------------

4. The First National AgFair was held in Kabul on
April 21-23, 2007. The AgFair was attended by
approximately 52,000 Afghan visitors and more than
175 local and international exhibitors participated.
Prominent luminaries attending the event included:
Mr. David Murdock, CEO, Chairman and Owner of Dole
Foods Company; Danko Stambuk, Dole Senior Vice
President of Manufacturing; and Overseas Private
Investment Corporation (OPIC) President Robert
Mosbacher. Local and international media coverage
was extensive.

5. The First Agricultural Fair in Lashkar Gah,
Helmand was held on August 22 and was organized by
the USAID-funded Alternative Development Program
South (ADP/S). More than 1,700 people attended,

KABUL 00004211 002 OF 005


including farmers and traders from Herat, Kandahar,
Ghazni and Helmand. The event took place without
incident due to cooperation between Task Force
Helmand and local security forces. The Afghan
Innovative Consulting Bureau (AICB) conducted a post
event survey by interviewing 28 traders, 15
farms/cooperatives and 36 farmers to track
attendance and business transactions. Producers and
traders reported $5,404 in actual sales on the day
of the event and $70,874 of agriculture and related
products after the fair (as of September 2007). The
main trade products at the AgFair were tractors,
agricultural fertilizers, carpets, vegetables and
dairy products. Local and international press
coverage was extensive, including a positive article
by the New York Times on August 26, 2007 featuring
the fair and quotes by USAID representatives.

6. The USAID-funded Alternative Development Program
for Eastern Afghanistan (ADP/E), MAIL and
regional trade associations organized the Jalalabad
2007 Agro-Industrial Trade Fair from September 4-6.
The event was aimed at strengthening market linkages
in the agricultural supply chain and build trade
opportunities as well as help capitalize on its
proximity to major domestic and international market
centers. More than 12,500 people participated in the
event, including more than 90 produce buyers from
other regions of Afghanistan, Pakistan, India,
Turkey, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. The exhibitors
included over 143 input suppliers, farmers,
processors, traders and service providers. Media
coverage of the AgFair event was extensive:
including 17 media representatives from TV, radio,
Internet, newspapers, and news wires. The economic
impact reported to date is also impressive as
initial sales and transactions include: 400 MT of
wheat seeds sold (value of $160,000); 200 MT of
melons exported to India (value of $78,000); 60,000
fruit trees sold (value of $72,000). Jalalabad
traders and producers also participated in the other
national and regional AgFairs.

7. The Second Kabul AgFair (October 24-26) attracted
record crowds and received positive press coverage
by approximately 20 media outlets throughout
Afghanistan, as well as BBC, The Independent and
The Scotsman, both major British daily papers. The fair
attracted 175 exhibitors and an estimated 160,000 visitors
exceeding pre-fair goals of 165 exhibitors and 100,000 visitors.
New farm machinery was demonstrated to Afghan farmers.
Key events included the unveiling of the new AgFarm
to the public and a Knowledge Center that hosted
programs on important agriculture issues. AgFair
exhibitors varied from small, women owned businesses
to large, multi-national corporations such as DHL.
The majority of participants fell into the
Agriculture Resources category, which included
banks, transportation firms, donors and
international NGOs. Participants from the Farm
Outputs category, such as dry fruit and nut
associations/exporters and fresh fruit producers,
were well represented at the fair. Only a few End
Products exhibitors (food processors) participated
in the fair. USAIDQs Alternative Development and
Agriculture Office is working towards increasing
commercial agriculture opportunities. The lack of
participants in this sector is probably due to the

KABUL 00004211 003 OF 005


fact that there are few food processing businesses
in Afghanistan. Four AgFair networking events took
place on and off site. A 50 person Indian delegation
also attended the AgFair to network with Afghan
companies. A womenQs networking dinner was held at
the Serena Hotel to help women make to the most of
the AgFair opportunity.

8. The USAID-funded Alternative Development Program
North (ADP/N), MAIL and regional trade
associations organized the BadakhshanQs first-ever
Agricultural Fair. The fair attracted an estimated
15,000 attendees over two days (October 29-30),
triple the expected attendance rate. 106 exhibitors
of agricultural goods, techniques, and crafts from
all over Badakhshan participated in the AgFair.
Notably, 29 of the 106 exhibitors were women. The
AgFair created business connections between
cooperatives, traders, and entrepreneurs and allowed
information sharing on commercial agricultural
techniques between farmers from all across
Badakhshan province. While an economic survey is in
process, the initial data is promising. WomenQs
groups reported overall strong sales. The First
Micro-Finance Bank reported a 10% increase in new
clients after exhibiting at the Fair. A womenQs
textile company generated $1,200 in sales Q a huge
amount for Badakhshan. Beyond the initial economic
impact, the social impact is evident on the impact
on local officials. Muhammad Alim, Badakhshan
Provincial Director of Agriculture noted that: QAt
the AgFair, I have seen things that I had never
imagined could be found in Badakhshan... This
AgFair is successful beyond all my expectations.

9. The first Mazar AgFair (November 1-3) attracted
an estimated 36,000 attendees for the two public
days. The fair attracted 94 exhibitors in booths,
over 100 cultural presentations in tents, four food and
beverage vendors, and over a dozen agricultural
equipment displays. The Agriculture commercial
exhibitors included: 12 seed companies, 17
agricultural associations small and medium sized
tool companies/associations; two animal skin
companies; eight carpet and handicraft companies; one
fertilizer company; two dairy companies; five dry fruit
companies; and three livestock businesses. An additional
200 women exhibited handicrafts in the Cultural
Center. A demonstration plot was erected to
demonstrate various farming technologies and a
greenhouse was constructed to demonstrate greenhouse
management and water irrigation. Teaching
demonstrations also included the use of modern farm
machinery. The teaching demonstrations and demo plot
enhanced the hourly lecture presented within the
Knowledge Center. The 150 seating was almost always
at capacity and included topics ranging from
marketing, production techniques and water
management.

10. The Herat AgFair (November 15-18) was completed
successfully, despite heightened security risk
following the unrelated bomb incident in Baghlan on
November 6. More than 20,000 people attended the
fair with 150 exhibitors participating. The Herat
agricultural trade show featured national and
international businessmen, farmers, exhibitors,
traders and investors. The Herat AgFair also

KABUL 00004211 004 OF 005


highlighted USAID programs including the Grape
Export Program, the Melon Fly Eradication Project,
the Trellis Project, Brooding Coops (chicken and egg
production), and an ice cream plant. Additionally a
greenhouse was on display and farmers had the
opportunity to learn about cucumber production.
While the Herat AgFair was scaled down after the Baghlan
bombing in terms of advertising and entertainment,
which were cancelled for political reasons (out of
respect for the victims), USAID and partners were
able to quickly respond to create a meaningful
AgFair.

--------------------------------------------- ------
AGRICULTURE DEMONSTRATION FARM AT BADAM BAGH (KABUL
ONLY)
--------------------------------------------- ------

11. Adjacent to the Badam Bagh fairgrounds in Kabul
is AgFarm, a 57-hectare demonstration farm built
through the support of USAID. AgFarm was built to
demonstrate new technologies in water resource
management, season extension and new fodder crops
that are beneficial to the soil.

12. A drip irrigation system was introduced to
Afghan farmers during the fair. Drip irrigation
provides targeted irrigation water to crops. This
technology is used by farmers world-wide to increase
water efficiency. Improved flood irrigation was also
demonstrated through the use of the 6,500,000-liter
water reservoir and precision, laser-leveled fields.
Additionally, simple siphons were demonstrated.
These measures and other simple and technically
appropriate measures can improve water use
efficiency by more than 30%. AgFarm was designed to
show farmers how.

13. Visitors to AgFarm also learned about the many
test crops that were recently harvested at the farm.
Drip irrigation and plastic mulch technology were
employed to increase the length of the growing
season, save water, and grow higher value crops such
as strawberries, tomatoes, peppers, squash, zucchini
and okra. New fall and winter crops designed to
increase soil nutrition, reduce fertilizer cost, and
reduce soil erosion are being planted. These include
canola, field peas, fodder oats, and other
experimental fodder crops, like turnips. These kinds
of crops allow farmers to produce nutritious fodder
for their livestock year-round while building up
their soil. Visitors were offered the opportunity to
take a guided tour of the farm to learn about new
crop possibilities.

14. USAID has also installed an improved Kishmish
Khana, or raisin drying shed, on the AgFarm. This
facility provides shade to dry about 15,000 kg of
fresh grapes into about 4,000 kg of premium green
raisins. The improved drying shed was developed
after researching other drying sheds in the region.
The new design produces a prized traditional product
with strong market potential under much cleaner and
more efficient conditions. There are currently five
Kishmish Khana prototypes being tested in Kandahar.
Although they have only been in use for one season,
initial experience suggests that the redesign
reduces wastage by as much as 20%; produces a

KABUL 00004211 005 OF 005


cleaner, more attractive product; and helps Afghan
farmers meet market demand in India. Mechanized
plows, cultivators and other equipment were
demonstrated during the fair.

--------------------------------
ECONOMIC IMPACT / FUTURE AGFAIRS
--------------------------------

16. While AgFair economic impact surveys are in
process, overall attendance levels, initial sales
transactions, business deals, and impact on foreign
firm delegation visits is promising. USAID and
implementing partners are already planning the 2008
AgFairs. As the planning progresses, including
specific dates and locations, USAID will coordinate
closely with partners to generate an even greater
impact next year.

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COMMENT
-------

17. AgFairs work and are becoming a growing
tradition and driving force in boosting the
agriculture sector in Afghanistan; linking people to
partners, ideas and business opportunities. The
events have raised the Ministry of Agriculture,
Irrigation, and LivestockQs profile and have
underscored the importance of agriculture in
Afghanistan. The seven AgFairs without incident are
one of several helpful signs that instills more
confidence by Afghans in their government to
organize events. End comment.

WOOD

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