Natural resource management
Most Afghan communities and particularly those in rural and hard-to-reach parts of the country depend on agriculture and livestock for their food and income. Having a sufficient, nutritious, sustainable, and year-round supply of food depends on proper natural resource management (NRM) and environmental protection. In 2020, the pandemic caused borders to close, agricultural inputs to become scarce, and food prices to increase. Despite these challenges, income levels and food security improved in NAC partner communities thanks to our varied and complementary initiatives in food security, NRM, and disaster risk reduction (DRR).
The impacts of good natural resource management lead to positive results in other fields as well. The sustainable management of pastures contributes to food security. Reforestation and water management can greatly reduce the risk of natural hazards.
Improving food security means giving people access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food, either by improving the food sources that exist already or by introducing new methods of attaining food. NAC does both. Communities receive help to maintain and regulate pastures and rangelands. These are essential for domestic animals but are frequently overgrazed. Good maintenance ensures that future generations will be able to keep animals grazing. NAC trains farmers on the best techniques to grow the crops they already know, such as wheat and potatoes, and gives rural communities advice and seeds to plant kitchen gardens with nutritious vegetables, both familiar and new.
Natural disasters are frequent in Afghanistan, particularly in the mountain regions. Mountainsides that are clad with forest are less prone to disasters such as floods, mudslides or avalanches. Unfortunately, the forest has been decimated in many places, due to the overharvesting of wood and to create new pastures for livestock. This increases the risk of disasters in rural communities. NAC’s reforestation program helps people plant trees in their environs to directly reduce disaster risk, but also to raise communities’ awareness of the risks of deforestation.
Managing the flow of water down mountainsides is another key factor for disaster risk reduction. Irrigation and water management systems can both reduce the risk of floods and mudslides and make water available for cultivation, – which again supports food security.