An interview with Dr. Mohammad Yaqoub “Hotak”, Director of Human Resources, Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation & Livestock (MAIL)
The growth of the agriculture sector is considered as a key driver of Afghanistan’s economic growth since the majority of Afghans lives in rural areas and relies on agriculture for their livelihood and subsistence.
The growth of the agriculture sector is considered as a key driver of Afghanistan’s economic growth since the majority of Afghans live in rural areas and rely on agriculture for their livelihood and subsistence.
In recent years, the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation & Livestock (MAIL) has made tremendous progress and had tangible achievements in restoring Afghanistan’s licit agricultural economy through empowering human resources, agricultural production and productivity, natural resource management, and improving physical infrastructures and market development.
These achievements have been accomplished through the dedicated efforts of the Human Resources (HR) Directorate of the Ministry by assisting other directorates/departments to reach MAIL’s objectives through its management and development of human resources, and its contribution in reform planning and implementation.
Dr. Mohammad Yaqoub “Hotak” was recruited by the Capacity Building for Results Program (CBR) to serve with the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation & Livestock (MAIL) as Director of Human Resources. During the past 5 years leading the HR Directorate, Dr. Hotak has played a prominent role in bringing tangible changes in the HR Directorate. CBR recruits highly qualified Afghans to key managerial positions within several governmental institutions to assist the government improve capacity and performance, especially in priority programs such as Agriculture where it has successfully recruited many directors.
Dr. Hotak highlighted the CBR’s assistance with MAIL in implementing the 1393 Strategic Plan and Change Management Programs, and developing a mechanism for integrating different donor projects in the ministry. He added that one of the HR directorate’s significant achievements during 1393 was in bringing proper changes to MAIL's Tashkeel. Establishing new general directorates for Agriculture Research and for Seeds Certification, and Quarantine Laboratories at seven border points have been some of the key examples.
Recruitment & Capacity Building:
CBR program has recruited 9 Senior Management Group staff (SMGs) who lead different MAIL directorates, and similar to Dr. Hotak, are leading reform and business practice improvements. Moreover, 6 Technical Advisors (TAs) have been recruited to provide targeted technical assistance to MAIL in implementing their reform plans under the CBR Program. MAIL has also requested the recruitment of 80 positions including Senior Management and Common Function staff (Grades 1-4) under the CBR Program, the request has been approved and is currently in process. According to Dr. Hotak, “Recruiting competent people in key government positions, specifically at the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock (MAIL) which is one of the Afghan government’s important and critical institutions, is very important.”
Business Process Simplification:
Simplifying the job application process for individuals interested in applying for MAIL vacancies is a recent key achievement. Now applicants can easily apply for MAIL vacancies in compare to what it was before which included obtaining hard copies of the job application from the HR directorate and going through a long application process which involved verification of educational documents by the Ministry of Higher Education, security background check by the Ministry of Interior plus, health examination by the Ministry of Public Health. Now, the applicants can easily get the Job Application Form from MAIL’s website, and applicants are only required to go through the verification of educational documents, security check and health checkup after they are accepted for the job.
Moreover, the establishment of a more efficient electronic attendance system in MAIL and the simplified process of creating official e-mail addresses and ID cards for new appointees are other services which were made more efficient. Keeping in mind the above mentioned key developments and achievements, Dr. Hotak hopes that through the CBR and other donors’ continued cooperation the HR Directorate will continue to make the Human Resources System of MAIL even more effective in contributing to providing effective services to the agriculture sector and Afghan agriculturists.
The Capacity Building for Results Program (CBR) was formed in 2012 by the Government of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan (GIRoA) with the aim to assist the government in improving the capacity and performance of core Line Ministries in carrying out their mandates and delivering efficient and quality services to the Afghan people.
CBR supports broad reforms in public administration at national and sub-national levels including: restructuring, recruiting and building the capacity of senior civil servants so that the government becomes capable of achieving its objectives and targeted results. CBR also serves to consolidate key donor interventions into one project. Funded through the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund, CBR is managed by Program Support Units at the Ministry of Finance, Directorate of Budget and the Independent, Administrative Reform and Civil Service Commission.