Showing posts with label agriculture. Show all posts
Showing posts with label agriculture. Show all posts

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Opium . . . and Agriculture

Opium Makes a Comeback. 2015 say a 19 percent decrease in opium production in Afghanistan due (not to government eradication efforts) fungus and weevils. However, 2016 is projected to be a more successful year for the poppy growers. Read more in "Opium bounces back, enriching Taliban and Afghan officials"IRIN, March 4, 2016.

Poppy Production Examined. Catherine Putz dissects poppy growth in Afghanistan in "Is Poppy Production Really Down in Afghanistan?"The Diplomat, March 4, 2016.

Bamyan Agricultural Area Struggles. Making a living in Afghanistan in agriculture is problematic. The security issues, varying climate, and harsh sparse growing areas all contribute to 'hit or miss' seasons with growing crops. Learn how one valley in Bamyan province is coping with the assistance of the Conservation Organization for Afghanistan Mountains (COAM) in "Preserving a Pristine Landscape in Bamyan"United Nations Development Programme, August 2015.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Rumi Spice - Helping Out Afghan Farmers

A small group of Afghan War veterans attending school at Harvard University got together and formed an import company called Rumi Spice. The small firm imports saffron - a very expensive exotic spice grown in Afghanistan. The fair-trade business may well be a boon to Afghan farmers who will sometimes grow poppy for its high cash value. Ventures like these are what are needed to take Afghanistan out of its never-ending cycle of poverty and provide a more robust economic environment for young people that would otherwise be attracted to insurgent groups by ideology or pay. Read more in "A Lucrative Crop - It's Not Opium Poppies - May Help Afghanistan's Farmers", Take Part, November 3, 2015. Visit the website of Rumi Spice at:

Monday, December 15, 2014

Saffron - Hope for Afghan Farmers

Afghanistan's future from an economic perspective is bleak. The cost of maintaining large security forces to fight the insurgents is overwhelming and far exceeds the revenue of the Afghan government from taxes and other sources of income. International aid is starting to diminish and it is apparent that the Afghan ministries have not mastered the art of governance to the extent that the aid that will still be offered will be used effectively. In fact, corruption remains the number one problem when it comes to governance and government services. One hope is that the agricultural sector of Afghanistan will rebound - and that is where firms like one from Massachusetts can assist. A group of Afghan War veterans from the Boston area (many whom attend or attended Harvard University) have started a small business that imports and sells saffron - a very high quality spice. The firm, called Rumi Spice, connects Afghan saffron farmers with American spice markets. Saffron is one of the few crops that Afghan farmers can grow which yield greater profits than poppies (drug trade). Read more in "Afghanistan's future lies with small farmers", The Boston Globe, December 14, 2014.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Saffron - Hope for Afghanistan

A group of military veterans who are also students at Harvard University are hoping that a business venture associated with the Harvard Innovation Lab will produce beneficial results for the Afghan economy. Rumi Spice is a venture that launched earlier this year (2014) and which provides quality saffron from Afghan farmers. If the venture takes off it is hoped to move Afghan farmers away from the drug trade and into an economic alternative crop. This would reduce money going to warlords, corrupt government officials, and the Taliban as well as cut down on the amount of drugs going into the international market. Read more in "Harvard students help rebuild Afghanistan with one ingredient: Saffron", Boston Business Journal, November 30, 2014. Visit the website of Rumi Spice to order your products in time for Christmas.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

India Provides Soil Research Service

The Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI), in collaboration with agricultural universities in Afghanistan, is providing soil research and training to improve agriculture. Part of this service is the use of a soil testing device (a digital meter) that checks the fertility of the soil for better fertilizer recommendations. Read more here in Sify News (November 29, 2014).

Pomegranates Not Poppies

An entrepreneur from the United Kingdom is on a mission to replace poppy cultivation with pomegranates. It appears that his program is having some success in Kandahar and has attracted the backing of some influential personalities. He has set up a charity called Plant for Peace. Read more in a news report (November 29, 2014) in Scotland Now.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Biscuit Factory-in-a-Box for Humanitarians

The United Nations World Food Program has introduced a unique method of helping Afghans provide food for humanitarian disasters. A biscuit factory from Italy was shipped to Jalalalbad, Nangarhar province. The self-contained "factory" employs about 25 people and produces nutrient-rich cookies. The biscuit factory is also having a positive effect on the local business. Read more in "Biscuit Factory-in-a-Box Shows its Value in Afghanistan", World Food Programme, September 15, 2014.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Investment in Agriculture Key to Afghan Unemployment Problem

Afghanistan's economy has grown tremendously in recent years but this growth has not fixed the unemployment problem. There are many young workers who do not have a job. One possible remedy is increased investment in the agricultural sector - resulting in increased employment opportunities. Agriculture is the backbone of the rural economy and much can be done to increase employment in this field. Some investment ideas include better water management, refrigerated warehouses for farm produce, and improving the transportation system. Read more in "Afghanistan needs to address unemployment problem", Central Asia Online, September 13, 2014.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Irrigation Canal Provides Prosperity for Two Districts in Panjshir Valley

Two communities in the Panjshir Valley located north of Kabul in Panjshir province are benefiting from combining their resources and working through their respective Community Development Councils (CDCs) to build a government-funded irrigation canal. The farmers should be able to double their agricultural output with the new canal. The funding was provided by international donors through the National Solidarity Program (NSP). The NSP is a function of the Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development (MRRD) and supported by the World Bank and Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF). The funded program encourages local governance and development through small-scale infrastructure initiatives. Read more in "Irrigation Canal Unites Two Communities", World Bank, February 10, 2014.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Purdue University Partners with Herat University in Agricultural Program

The College of Agriculture at Purdue University will embark on a three-year venture funded by the State Department to improve agriculture in Afghanistan. The program will be in partnership with Herat University in western Afghanistan. The program will help the faculty at Herat University to provide academic programs supporting their nation's agriculture. Read more in "University readies another Afghan training program",, February 1, 2014. Learn more about agriculture in Afghanistan.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Military to Buy Crops from Afghan Farmers for Dining Facilities

The military intends to buy crops from local Afghan farmers to put on the tables in the military dining facilities. This measure will provide an opportunity to grow the agricultural sector and increase jobs. Eventually, the troop levels will go down (and disappear) but the hope is the Afghan farmers will be able to start exporting the agricultural crops to other regional countries. Read more in "Afghan farmers now feeding U.S. troops", Army Times, February 5, 2014.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

National Guard Agricultural Assistance Program in Afghanistan

Since 2006 the United States Army National Guard has been fielding agricultural assistance teams to various locations in Afghanistan. Their task is to work with individual farmers and agricultural officials to modernize and improve agriculture in Afghanistan. The 15 states in the program are mostly agriculturally-oriented states in the Midwest and South. One of the latest agricultural teams to deploy was from the Nebraska Army National Guard. This Afghan Agri-business Development Team worked with their Afghan counterparts in Helmand province - home of much of the poppy cultivation that feeds the Afghan drug trade. Read more on the Agri-business Development Team from Nebraska in "Sowing seeds of hope: Nebraska Guard team mentors Afghan ag officials", Omaha World-Herald, February 4, 2004.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

South Carolina Agricultural Team Redeploying from Afghanistan

An Army National Guard agriculture team from South Carolina will soon be returning from it's tour in Afghanistan. While in Afghanistan the team has built teaching centers and aided more than 300 farmers in its Afghan agricultural development mission through the help provided to Afghan farmers to improve their crops and livestock methods. Read more in "SC Guard unit wrapping up Afghan agriculture help", ABC News 4, February 9, 2013.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Solar Food Dryers Help Villagers Store Food for Long Term Use

The introduction of solar food dryers to Afghan women in Kapisa province has ensured the villages can store food over the long term. Afghan men in the area learned how to build the solar food dryers (assisted by an Agricultural Development Team - ADT). Solar power (Afghanistan has plenty of sun) is an energy source that is relatively inexpensive to tap into when the right low-tech tools are used. View a video entitled In Afghanistan Solar Dryers Make Big Impact by DVIDS dated 8 Feb 13.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Texas National Guard Agribusiness Development Team to Deploy to Afghanistan

A small group of Soldiers from the Texas National Guard will soon deploy to Afghanistan as part of a Agribusiness Development Team (ADT). The team is headed to Ghazni province later this year. They will be working on agricultural projects that will benefit the Afghan people. Read more in "Agricultural development team trains for deployment", DVIDS, March 28, 2012.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Afghan Women Improve Their Lot with Dairy Goat Project - News from ICARDA

A recent news release provides information about a dairy goat project that has provided substantial benefits to women in agricultural areas of Afghanistan. The women-orientated project has increased incomes, improved nutrition, and created new platforms for community development. Read more in "Dairy goat project improves women's welfare in Afghanistan", International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA), March 2012.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Missouri Agribusiness Development Team (ADT) Leaves for Afghanistan Deployment

The sixth Agribusiness Development Team from the Missouri National Guard is departing for Afghanistan. The first ADT left for Missouri in 2007 and deployed to Nangarhar Province. 
"The Agribusiness Development Team has agriculture specialists including project managers, engineers, instructors, legal advisors and security forces personnel. More than a dozen states—including Texas, Indiana, Iowa and Kansas—now have teams in Afghanistan to provide help to the Afghan people. The ADTs work closely with Afghan farmers and government and industry leaders."
This sixth team has a mix of Soldiers and Airmen and will also deploy to Nangarhar Province. You can learn more about agriculture in Afghanistan here.
"Missouri Agribusiness Development Team VI will focus on energy, education, resource management, irrigation and water issues, value-added enterprises and food safety. The team, composed of specialists in agricultural animals, agronomy, hydrology, pest management, soil science, security and marketing, will relieve the fifth Missouri Agribusiness Development Team."
 Read more about the 6th ADT from Missouri here - "Missouri Agribusiness Development Team Departs for Afghanistan", National Guard, March 12, 2012.

The Wisconsin Army National Guard is conducting preparations to deploy an Agribusiness Development Team in late 2012. See a contract solicitation for ADT agricultural training to take place in July 2012 for the ADT.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Zabul, Afghanistan DAIL Representatives Take Lead in Agriculutural Seminars

The efforts of some US Agribusiness Development Teams (ADT) are paying off in Afghanistan.  The ADT from Minnesota has been working with representatives of the Zabul Province Department of Agriculture, Irrigation, and Livestock (DAIL) to take the lead in organizing agricultural events.  The job of the Zabul ADT is to partner with the Zabul Province DAIL staff and conduct agricultural outreach and activities throughout Zabul Province.  Read more of the Zabul ADT in "Afghan partners take lead role in Zabul province veterinary seminar", DVIDS, March 2, 2012.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Missouri National Guard Agribusiness Development Team to Deploy to Afghanistan

The Missouri National Guard Agribusiness Development Team (ADT) will deploy for Afghanistan soon.  The team has 54 members and will soon be in Nangarhar Province to assist Afghan farmers with agricultural practices.  The team is composed of agricultural specialists, engineers, instructors, legal advisers, and security force personnel. Read more in "Agribusinees Development Team leaves for Afghanistan March 9",, March 8, 2012.

Agriculture Development Team One in Zabul Province, Afghanistan Has Success and Frustrations During One-Year Tour

Agriculture Development Team One deployed for one year to Zabul Province, Afghanistan in February 2010.  While there they worked with special operations teams and elements of the Romanian Army on agricultural projects in Zabul Province. Their work took them to all 13 districts of Zabul Province. They closely coordinated with the Afghan Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation, & Livestock or MAIL and the provincial Department of Agriculture, Irrigation, & Livestock or DAIL. The agricultural team was able to construct two "demonstration farms" that allowed the team members to show Afghan farmers different ways to improve their crop and farm animal yields.  The team also provided help in the way of agricultural seminars to various locations throughout Zabul Province.  Over their year-long tour they experienced quite a few successes. They also had the Taliban to deal with and the never-ending corruption of Afghan government officials. Read more about Agriculture Development Team One in "US military agriculture team succeeds despite Taliban", Western Farm Press, March 7, 2012.