News / Economy

Americans Work to Modernize Afghan Agriculture

Two Afghan women water the soil at the Qalat Department of Women's Affairs, in the Zabul Province of Afghanistan, May 8, 2011
Two Afghan women water the soil at the Qalat Department of Women's Affairs, in the Zabul Province of Afghanistan, May 8, 2011
TEXT SIZE - +

Agriculture is the mainstay of Afghanistan’s economy, although only about 12 percent of the country’s land is suitable for farming. Insecurity and droughts have also hindered the country’s agricultural success, as has the lack of modern farming techniques. An American university has teamed up with one in Kabul to help update agricultural teaching methods.

The sound of a thresher in the wheat fields of eastern Afghanistan. Farmer Gholam Nabi got the machine only two years ago. Nabi says it is not easy for Afghan farmers to afford machines like this.

The government does not help us get machinery, he says. It does give us some seeds, he adds, but not enough. Nabi says the thresher has speeded up his harvest, and he believes introducing modern farming methods is the way to for Afghanistan’s farmers to become more profitable.

“If we want someone to restrain the sheep, we hold the back of the head and under the chin,” said American Sophia Wilcox. Wilcox is from US Purdue University. She is working at Kabul University with Afghan agriculture professors and students.

“We work here to improve the efficiency and production, modernize some of the skills and technology so these students can go on and build a much stronger foundation for agriculture in Afghanistan,” she explained.

Classroom study has been upgraded to include modern biology and other sciences.

And there’s a student farm, with live sheep and chickens, including an American poultry breed Wilcox imported herself -- the Leghorn. There are also fields, where students farm the land, learning how deep to plant a seed, and how often to water it. Wilcox says agriculture is crucial to Afghanistan’s future.

“Eighty-five percent of income comes from agriculture, and the whole economy of Afghanistan is not industrialized as much as it is agriculture and agricultural products,” said Wilcox.

Despite Afghanistan’s dependence on agriculture and the improved academic program at the university, the Afghan faculty says it is difficult to attract students. Agriculture professor Ewaz Khan says Afghans who have passed the university entrance exams choose other subjects, like journalism and or law.

Khan says students should pay attention to our department, too, because Afghanistan is an agricultural country. “We need to encourage people to join this faculty,” he said.

Farming is largely seen here as a subsistence business, long hindered by decades of war.

Even though insecurity remains a problem in parts of Afghanistan, much of the country is experiencing freedom of movement and commerce the nation has not enjoyed in a generation. And there is the prospect that farming could become much more profitable.

This month (June) a new transit agreement between landlocked Afghanistan and neighboring Pakistan means Afghan farmers can truck their goods directly to India or China, shaving days of transit time and opening up new markets for produce.  


You May Like

Analysts Warn of Regional Proxy Conflict in Afghanistan

Analysts warn if Kabul’s neighbors do not start to cooperate, competing desires for influence could deteriorate into a bloody proxy war in the country More

Saudi Intelligence Chief Replaced

Bandar bin Sultan came under criticism for supporting al Qaida, prompting King Abdallah to wrest Syria operations away from him in February, handing them to Interior Minister Prince Mohammed bin Nayef More

Poetry Magazine editor Don Share talks what makes a good poem with VOA's David Byrd

What makes a good poem? And is poetry as viable an art form as it once was? To find out, VOA's David Byrd spoke to Don Share, the editor of Poetry Magazine. More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.7225
JPY
USD
102.27
GBP
USD
0.5953
CAD
USD
1.0982
INR
USD
60.349

Rates may not be current.