The project will benefit more than 300,000 Afghans.
"This project is very important for farmers, as well as the people of Herat and surrounding areas, as well as for the Afghanistan economy," said UNOPS Director ad-interim in Afghanistan, Dr. Mohammed Haider Reza.
"The project will allow farmers easier access to markets and the ability to properly store their products according to international standards. UNOPS is pleased to work closely with the Ministry of Economy and the Government of Japan in this endeavour, " he added.
To be completed in March 2019, two of Herat's largest produce markets will be rehabilitated, in addition to the construction of a cool storage facility, an agricultural exhibition and training facility, and a community bazaar in the Injil district.
Two access roads, 6.5 kilometers in total, will be paved to improve transportation and reduce congestion.
With Japanese funding, UNOPS is implementing the project in collaboration with the Ministry of Economy, the Office of the Governor of Herat, the Herat Economy Department and the Provincial Development Council (PDC) Secretariat.
The ceremony was attended by representatives from the Government of Afghanistan: H.E. Mohammad Ismail Rahimi, Deputy Minister of Economy; Mr. Naeem Bahir, Director for Administration and Finance from the Office of the Governor of Herat, and Mr. Rahnaward, Director of Economy Department and PDC Secretariat.
"The rehabilitation of roads, markets and export-centered infrastructure will boost Herat's profile as a major contributor to the western regions' domestic produce and export output," said the Deputy Minister of Economy.
Charge d'Affaires ad interim of Embassy of Japan to Afghanistan Mr. Kenji Enoshita noted:
"By finding new markets for the agricultural products of this country, they can not only feed the local population, but also bring wealth to the entire Afghan nation, as well as to the villages where they are produced."
In addition to the rehabilitation and construction, the project will fund a capacity building training programme for 300 farmers and government officials in Herat, to help ensure sustainability of the project.