FAO Vows to Help Iran in Afghanistan Crop-Substitution Campaign

April 17, 2002
TEHRAN -- Representative of the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in Iran Abdur Rashid pledged FAO's help for Iran to carry out plans to replace poppy cultivation in Afghanistan.

Rashid recalled last month's visit of the FAO Director General Jacques Diouf to the Islamic Republic and his meetings with Iranian officials to discuss the ways to implement the tripartite agreement between FAO, Iran and Afghanistan to substitute the poppy cultivation.

He said FAO is currently engaged in the preliminaries of making the plans operational, and stressed that the cooperation of Iranian Ministries of Jihad Agriculture and Foreign Affairs had further facilitated the plans.

Rashid said the crop-substitution plans had been devised within the framework of UN programs for re-building the war-shattered country, and hoped the tripartite agreement would be put into effect soon.

Diouf arrived in Tehran March 10 at the head of a delegation to participate in the 26th FAO Near-East Regional Conference, and to meet Iranian officials for talks on issues of mutual interest.

While in Tehran, he conferred with several ranking Iranian officials including Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi and Minister of Jihad Agriculture Mahmoud Hojjati on Tehran-FAO cooperation to re-construct Afghanistan.

The FAO regional conference in Tehran pinpointed cooperation among regional countries and the international assistance to implement FAO programs to mitigate drought in regional countries.