Cereal Self-Sufficiency in Afghanistan Farms
21 Pages Posted: 8 May 2006
Date Written: April 2006
This paper presents information not previously published about cereal self-sufficiency and marketable surplus among Afghan farmers, based on extensive survey work carried out in 2003 across the whole country. Year after year, even in a very good agricultural year, like 2003, most Afghan farmers are not self-sufficient in their staple cereal crops. During the 2002-2003 marketing year, after a mediocre crop in 2002, about 58% of farms were well below self-sufficiency in cereals, 14% were at or about self-sufficiency, and 28% had a surplus. Surplus farms produced 73% of cereals in 2002 and 82% in 2003. Most surplus farms had a very modest surplus. The total marketable wheat surplus was largely concentrated in only a small fraction of the surplus farms. The top 1.4% of all farms, i.e., about 15,000 farms with the largest surpluses, each over 10 MT, controlled nearly 34% of the total marketable surplus. Even if the degree of self-sufficiency can improve with higher productivity and rehabilitation of irrigation infrastructure, most farmers cannot achieve self-sufficiency with their existing resources. After the very good harvest of 2003, some 46% of farmers were estimated to be below self-sufficiency, 15% at or about it, and 39% to get a surplus. The 2003 improvement in farm self sufficiency was, however, probably reversed with the poorer crop obtained in 2004. Recovery in 2005 and 2006 may have enlarged again the self-sufficient category. Agricultural production in Afghanistan is highly vulnerable to climatic variation, and thus improvements achieved in some years cannot be taken for granted for the future. These results create the background for more adequate food policies and more efficient food aid targeting in the country.
Keywords: Afghanistan, agriculture, cereal, cereal production, self-sufficiency, food, staple food
JEL Classification: Q1, R2, I3, D1
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation