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Commitment notes for Afghanistan Agriculture Conference and Afghan delegation visits in the Netherlands

The Hague, 23 June 2011
Noted and evaluated by Arash Kargar, MSc

This commitment note has been prepared in order to capture the main results and conclusion of this conference and other meetings with the individual institutes and organizations. President of the Netherlands Afghanistan Business Council and Honorary Consul General of Afghanistan in Amsterdam and Rotterdam.E. The conference was reinforced by a preliminary process of matchmaking. The Afghanistan agriculture conference was enriched with the presence of H. The purpose of the conference was to initiate tangible and concrete activities for the development of Afghan agriculture sector and evaluate on how to integrate the contribution of the Dutch and Afghan governments in order to achieve the above mentioned purpose. 1 . Afghanistan Investment Support Agency (AISA) and Dutch Private Sector Development Office (PSDO). Dutch government representatives. E. in close cooperation with the Afghan Ministry of Agriculture Irrigation and Livestock (MAIL). The PSDO works closely with the NAfBC. MAIL. the first Afghanistan Agriculture Conference in the Netherlands was initiated by H. this commitment note will be also used as the basic document to monitor and follow up implementation of these commitments and objectives set by the Afghan and Dutch representatives during this visit. Enayatullah Nabiel Afghanistan Ambassador to the Kingdom of The Netherlands. an Afghan delegation composite of AISA.E. ACCI. Hence. of Afghanistan in The Hague. the conference aimed to attract Dutch and European companies to invest and to do business in Afghanistan. Hence. ASIA. Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industries (ACCI) and Export Promotion Agency of Afghanistan (EPAA) as well as the Embassy of The Netherlands in Kabul and the Embassy of I.Preamble On 23 June 2011. Mr.R. EPAA and Dutch and Afghan entrepreneurs. ACCI and EPAA. initiated by the PSDO in Afghanistan. Minister Rahimi. Turabaz.E. by the Netherlands Afghanistan Business Council (NAfBC). H. The conference was organized.

H. H. the Governments of both the countries would facilitate the process. Irrigation and Livestock. 9. Livestock. The Dutch government representatives promised to enhance their activities and expand their programs to support realization of the Afghanistan National Development Strategy (ANDS). 2. 7. The Afghan Minister of Agriculture. agricultural value-chains in the rural districts. H. Minister Rahimi mentioned that agriculture has been set as one of the priority sectors in the Afghanistan National Development Strategy (ANDS). 2 . The ministry of agriculture has currently multi-million-dollar pledges to build self-contained.E.A: Agriculture policy and general requests and commitments 1. The Dutch government has expressed its willingness to share the knowledge and contribute to the agriculture development of Afghanistan.E. 6. While. Mr. water management and irrigation and other relevant agro-fields. H. Water management and Irrigation sectors in Afghanistan. The Netherlands has extensive experience and knowledge in the agriculture sector and utilizes modern technology. Minister Rahimi requested the Dutch investors and government to transfer the agrotechnology Know How to Afghanistan in the areas of consumer market demand analysis. H. 5. Nabiel invited the Netherlands government to partake and contribute in the development process of Agriculture. Apart from this the Ambassador stressed on the continuous cooperation between both countries in technical and educational fields. 8. as it is in line with the ANDS. Nabiel expressed his full support and commitment in strengthening of business relations between Afghanistan and the Netherlands. In this regard the matchmaking facilities and Private Sector Investment (PSI) very much recommended for both parties.E. Mr. H. 3. Minister Rahimi emphasized that investment is needed for several 100-hectare agricultural parks and free-zones. Minister Advisor to President Karzai and President of Afghanistan Investment Support Agency urged on encouraging at least 5 Dutch companies in the area of agriculture to have Joint Ventures with Afghan businesses. the ambassador of Afghanistan. On the other side the Dutch government pointed the Afghan agriculture sector as the main priority for the Netherlands. The Dutch government highly encourages the (Dutch) businesses and entrepreneurs to explore agricultural opportunities provided by Afghanistan and to have mutual cooperation with the Afghan businesses.E.E. H. reaffirmed the importance of the sector and pledged to provide in this regard an investor-friendly environment as far as possible.E. provided by the Afghanistan government. 4.E Delawari.

E emphasized on the need and continuation of such training by the Dutch educational institutions and UNESCO . Minister Rahimi expressed his appreciation for the efforts made so far by the Dutch government and Wageningen University towards establishing an International Agriculture Institute in Kabul.E Ambassador Nabiel.E. 6.B: Agriculture education and water management 1. which received his endorsement. the H. reaffirmed MAIL commitment to allocate 62 Hectare of land for launching the project.E. 4. Minister Rahimi stressed on the importance of a close link between agriculture and water management. H. Hence. H.IHE in the future. The same was forwarded by the Afghanistan Embassy to the relevant Afghan authorities for action. Mr.E. 5. 3 . Szöllösi-Nagy and Mr. H. 2. Nabiel emphasized that the Dutch government has so far contributed to the water management and irrigation sectors in Afghanistan by training engineers at the Utrecht Institute and by providing scholarships and other capacity programs. The Dutch government has already provided Post Graduate and Doctoral Scholarships in the fields of agriculture and water management to the Afghan students and stayed committed to continue providing such opportunities in the future. H. Prof. and accentuated for collaboration and information sharing between the Wageningen University and institutions that are engaged in training in the area of water management and irrigation and curriculum development. This proposal was already shared with H. An already UNESCO-IHE drafted water sector capacity development proposal for Afghanistan was discussed with the H. including conflict resolution and international laws and principles in relation to the transboundary water.E Minister Rahimi.E. Also the Dutch government remained highly committed to the agriculture education and establishing the International Agriculture Institute in Kabul. de Schutter of the UNESCO-IHE. 3.

On 23 of June 2011. 3. 4. The parties will be in regular contact and hold regular consultations. The Rumi group of companies has serious interest to construct and develop a processional feed mill with the support of the Dutch company Ottevanger based on the meeting they had. The purpose of this MOU is to strengthen the capacity of the ACCI and cooperate in the areas of. 4 . Nangarhar Dairy Farm wants to establish a dairy farm in Jalalabad.C: MoU’s signed 1. to consult each other on a regular basis. Tak Dana has a primary interest in developing a cumin processing and packaging plant. Based on the Match Making visit both Altrimex and Seed processing Holland BV will come up with a first calculation on the price for such a plant in the next week. a MoU has been signed between Dutch Employers’ Cooperation Program (DECP) and Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI). 2. strengthening of the membership base and association management. Sanzar Ayil ltd met different companies and several of them showed interest in setting up a flower company in Afghanistan together with him.a MoU has been signed between Afghan German Trading Company (AGT) a branch of Dawi Group operating in Germany. CBI provides export marketing and management support to exporters and with the purpose of increasing exports to the European Union (EU) market. D: Matchmaking evaluation 1. 6. Furthermore the parties have to work as effectively and efficiently as possible. The MoU clearly identifies the roles and responsibilities of the parties. On 23 June 2011. 2. Saddat Liquorice roots processing has been very satisfied with the different visit is currently in the process of deciding on the way forward with the Dutch companies met. in-and external communication. provision of services. The decisions and tasks which are defined should be reported in a protocol and have to be approved by each participant. Both Agriprom and Schaap showed interest in being business partner in developing such a dairy farm. On 23 of June 2011. advocacy and lobby and capacity. Paghman fish farming and the Dutch company Eco fish decided that they will seriously look into the opportunity of setting up a fish farm in Kabul. 3. Red Gold Saffron (based in Kabul) and Avalon. a MoU has been signed between Center for the Promotion of Imports from Developing Countries (CBI) and Export Promotion Agency of Afghanistan (EPAA). 5.

The evaluation committee recommended to involve the PSDO in Afghanistan in the selection process of the consultants. because the PSDO has direct contact with the Afghan businesses and could make an adequate match between the consultants and Afghan entrepreneur. The Afghan delegation recognized the security matters and the concerns made by the Dutch businesses. This issue is seen as major challenge which prevents the entrepreneurs doing business in Afghanistan. Also other factors such as corruption and weak infrastructure play an important role in this regard. The Afghan Government delegates pledged on behalf of their organizations to provide possible measures entrepreneurs. at least few number of potential Dutch business matches should have been well identified and explored for Afghan Businesses by NAfBC and EVD International. It is recommended to have sufficient time and focus prior to the conference in order to explore appropriate matches. 4. It is worth to mention that the Dutch and Afghan representatives very much appreciated the conference model used by the organizers. 3. 2. A personal meeting with the consultants could have a positive effect on better understanding of the matchmaking process and the companies they visited. It is recommended by the evaluation committee to involve the consultants in the early stage of matchmaking and even if needed train/inform the Afghan entrepreneurs in the area of Dutch business ethics. 5 . As a main objective of the conference. 3. The public and private sector representatives will evaluate this model and seek the opportunities to incorporate in their conference agenda. It is recommended to visit the country and see the reality and progress made so far by the Afghan businesses and government. The evaluation committee has recommended to disseminate the profiles and background information about the Dutch businesses to the Afghan companies in the early stage of matchmaking. 6. 2. Some of the Afghan entrepreneurs did not meet the Dutch consultants prior meeting the companies. However the delegation emphasized that the situation is not always the same as presented in the media and the businesses should not only judge the security matters through the media. The Dutch businesses have shown their concerns regarding the security situation in Afghanistan.E: Challenges for the investors 1. in order to ease and open business opportunities for foreign F: Lessons learned and opportunities for improvement 1. According to them insufficient information was available to study the Dutch businesses before meeting them. The Afghan entrepreneurs expressed their concerns in regard of availability of the information about the potential Dutch matchmaking partners. 5.

Turabaz.E. Mr. That reason has been given in the complexity of the Afghan context and business ethics.E. Delawari. c1-2: As a result of two MoU’s. The evaluation committee also recommended developing specific criteria for selecting the consultants in the matchmaking process of the Afghan companies. Suggestion were made to establish a working group in the Netherlands as well as in Afghanistan to follow up such initiatives and monitor the results mentioned in this document. o The Netherlands Embassy in Kabul will be contacted by Afghan Ministry of Agriculture in order to invite UNESCO-IHE to build and work further on the existing need assessments (related to water management and irrigation).E Delawari emphasized that as soon as we have realized that Dutch entrepreneurs are intending to invest and do business in the fields of agriculture. 1 Netherlands Senior Experts 6 . Based on the capacity needs UNESCO-IHE will work further on the mentioned proposal. Turabaz. UNESCO-IHE will assist with finding such donors if required and provide assistance to negotiations with these donor organizations. and EPAA and CBI.7. The MAIL will be responsible to provide these assessments to the UNESCO-IHE. H. MAIL will be responsible to take further action on the proposal. 1 H: Working group The Afghan delegation were delighted about the achievements made so far and emphasized the need of such initiatives in the future. The working group would be responsible to evaluate the matchmaking process and if needed organize further conferences as mentioned by H. signed between ACCI and DECP. Mr. H.E. The visit aims at setting up further steps towards achieving the proposed goals in the signed MoU’s. AISA would extend organizing such productive conferences and exhibitions in the future. o The Afghan Ministry of Agriculture will consult with potential donors for the funding of this project proposal approved by Ministry of Foreign Affairs and MAIL. b6: The water management capacity development proposal has been approved by the Ministry of Foreign affairs and MAIL. NAfBC and PSDO in Afghanistan will take the lead to coordinate and plan this visit. NAfBC and AISA will be responsible for setting such a working group. and the business matches are explored during the conference. a visit of the Dutch counter partners including PUM to Afghanistan has been planned. G: Action plan d1-7: H. It needs to be circulated to the other related ministries.