Afghanistan was one of the earliest members of IFAD. A project was approved in 1979, but it could not be implemented during the Soviet invasion. No other loan funded projects have been approved since then.
In 2006, after the fall of the Taliban regime, two grant-funded development initiatives were initiated with ICIMOD and ICARDA: the US$200,000 Enhancing Innovative and Pro-poor Upland Policies in Afghanistan project (ICIMOD) and the US$1 million regional grant Rehabilitation of Agricultural Livelihoods of Women in Marginal and Post-Conflict Areas of Afghanistan and Pakistan: Participatory Research, Dissemination and Adoption of Improved Dairy Goat Production System (ICARDA). Both projects target women – especially woman-headed households and farmers in the uplands of Afghanistan. While the 18-month ICIMOD project is progressing slowly, it is too early for the three-year ICARDA project to show any tangible results as yet.
At the request of the Government of Afghanistan a Programme Development Mission from the International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD) visited Afghanistan from 8 May to 22 May 2007. A principal objective of the mission was to develop a Result Based Country Strategic Opportunities Programme (RB-COSOP) supporting national priorities and plans established by the Government of Afghanistan in the Interim Afghan National Development Strategy (I-ANDS). The mission also reviewed the priorities outlined in the National Solidarity Program, the Agriculture Sector Master Plan, Afghanistan’s Millennium Development Goals and the National Plan of Action for Women.
The mission met with key government officials - in the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock, the Ministry of Rural Reconstruction and Development, Ministry of Women’s Affairs - financial institutions agents –in the Micro-Finance Investment Support Facility for Afghanistan and the like.
The mission members also held extensive meetings with representatives of the international donor community – at the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, FAO, UNDP, WFP, DFID, UNIFEM, UNDOC-, of bilateral agencies –at the Italian and the Netherlands Embassies- to discuss opportunities for establishing future partnerships.
With the above consultations IFAD came up with a program called Rural Microfinance and Livestock Support Program (RMLSP). RMLSP is designed around three components: a) microfinance; b) support to rural livelihoods (based on livestock); and c) programme management and coordination; with four and three subcomponents for the first two components respectively.