National Conference on Development of Oil Seed Crops held in Mazar-e-Sharif, Balkh Province, Afghanistan

On 9-12 November 2014, UNODC convened the first National Conference on the Development of Oil Seed Crops in Mazar-e-Shairf. The event was organised in close collaboration with Balkh University, Balkh Directorate of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock, Balkh Directorate of Counter Narcotics, Balkh Governor's Office, ACCI-Balkh, FAO/AAIP, American Soybean Association (ASA), JDA, Nutrition Education International (NEI), Sanai-zada Edible Oil Production Co., Naseeb Afghan Soybean Factory and other oil seed processing enterprises in Balkh Province.

Governor Ustad Ata Mohammad Noor of Balkh Province, Deputy Minister Mir Amanuddin Haidery, Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock and Deputy Minister Ibrahim Azhar,  Ministry of Counter Narcotics attended the event along with 310 participants representing agricultural researchers, extension workers, university professors and students, farmers and oil seed  processors from across Afghanistan. Among the attendees were five oil seed crop experts from Iran and Tajikistan who shared their expertise with delegates.

The overall goal of the event was to share the lessons learned on oilseed crops (cotton, sesame, safflower, sunflower, flax, soybeans, canola, mustard, peanuts and specialty oils such as olive oil, walnut oil, almond oil, black seed oil, mint oil and rose oil), from planting to processing and marketing, identify the constraints to development of the value chains, and prioritizing options for interventions, with the view of strengthening and diversifying the licit sources of income for farmers.

The conference resulted in the identification of major constraints to the expansion of oil seed crop cultivation and important links were established with regional research institutes in Iran and Tajikistan.

This event was supported under the UNODC Project K63 (Alternative Development) and K65 (Institutional Capacity Building).