War has taken its toll on agriculture in Afghanistan. The country's seed collections have been destroyed, putting its crop diversity at risk. Taking stock of the situation, a consortium of international crop genebanks led by Future Harvest -- a global network of food and environmental research centres -- has now begun restoration work. Scientists believe that these seed stores are crucial to preserve traditional varieties. The seed collections had been stored in plastic jars hidden in houses in the cities of Ghazni and Jalalabad. "Fortunately, the looters took only the plastic containers and left the seed behind," said Nassrat Wassimi, Kabul coordinator of the Future Harvest Consortium to Rebuild Agriculture in Afghanistan.
The scientists have pointed out that hundreds of samples of seeds have been destroyed. These include wheat, barley, chickpea, lentil, melon, pistachio, almond and pomegranate. In a bid to rebuild these collections, Future Harvest is working with seedbanks in India, Mexico, Pakistan and Syria to repatriate hundreds of crop samples collected in Afghanistan.
We are a voice to you; you have been a support to us. Together we build journalism that is independent, credible and fearless. You can further help us by making a donation. This will mean a lot for our ability to bring you news, perspectives and analysis from the ground so that we can make change together.
Comments are moderated and will be published only after the site moderator’s approval. Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name. Selected comments may also be used in the ‘Letters’ section of the Down To Earth print edition.