The development of Afghanistan's agricultural sector has been overlooked by the international community, despite the fact that roughly 80 percent of the Afghan population lives in rural areas and scratches out a meager existence from the land. In trying to rectify the existing situation, the international community would do well to look to Brazil for answers.
Real progress on agricultural reforms is critical for success in stabilizing Afghanistan. If we cannot assure Afghanistan's rural population access to a legitimate livelihood, rural residents will grow increasingly disillusioned, lose trust in the government, and, for lack of other options, support the Taliban. Through a thriving agricultural sector, we can win the struggle for hearts and minds against al Qaeda and the Taliban, reduce poverty, and rebuild and develop Afghanistan's economy.
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Mohammad Asif Rahimi is Afghanistans Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation & Livestock; M. Ashraf Haidari is the Political Counselor of the Embassy of Afghanistan in Washington DC; he manages Afghanistans non-resident diplomatic relations with South America.