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Korean Funding To Help WFP Develop Soybean Production For Reduced Malnutrition In Afghanistan

The first donation of the Republic of Korea will enable WFP Afghanistan to support more than 30,000 Afghan farmers and to help reduce malnutrition though soybean cultivation.

Kabul – A contribution of US$ 13 million from the Republic of Korea will enable WFP’s Purchase for Progress (P4P) to address low agricultural productivity, widespread malnutrition, and ability of Afghan farmers to compete on the open market through the soy production development project. The activities will include training 30,000 soybean farmers, building six soy factories to produce soy flour, soy oil and animal feed, as well as training village housewives how to consume soybeans and prepare fortified soy bread at home, and forming soy farmers’ associations in 21 provinces within three years.
Four million (US$) of the total budget will be utilized during the initial year and the remaining US$9 million will be decided upon the successful implementation of the project in the first year.  
The donation was formalized with a signing ceremony on 17 October 2013 at the Korean Embassy in Kabul between H.E. Mr Cha, Young Cheol, Ambassador of the Republic of Korea and Mr Claude Jibidar, WFP Country Director. “I would like to thank the Republic of Korea on behalf of the Afghan people as I believe that Afghans deserve the very best. I also believe this project is one of the most important initiatives that will have a longer term impact and will remain for Afghans.” said Jibidar.
"I am happy to sign the Letter of Understanding between WFP and the Republic of Korea, which is the first step to implement a joint soy project between WFP and Nutrition and Education International (NEI). I also acknowledge the important role NEI has played over the past decade in paving ways for the soy project in Afghanistan." said H.E. Mr Cha, Young Cheol.
WFP and its cooperating partner NEI will use the donation to implement various activities during the first year including improving wheat production in Herat, Kunduz and Parwan provinces by organizing training sessions for Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock (MAIL) agronomists.
 “Today, we are here to inaugurate NEI’s second decade in the fight to end malnutrition. This next step is possible because of commitment of both the Government of the Republic of Korea and the World Food Programme to the people of Afghanistan.” said Mr Drew Bishop, the Country Director of NEI.  
Soybean is a viable crop that can be produced on a large scale in Afghanistan. Soy has the added benefit of enriching the soil after it is depleted by the wheat harvest while it is highly nutritious, containing a high percentage of protein and nine amino acids. Promoting the home-use of the new fortified, high protein Naan bread will significantly contribute to reduce malnutrition especially among the women and children in rural Afghanistan.