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

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

French Refugee Drama Wins Cannes Top Prize

Dheepan is about a group of Sri Lankan refugees who pretend to be a family in order to flee their war-torn country for a housing project in France More

Photogallery Crisis in Macedonia Requires Meaningful and Swift Measures

The international community has called on Macedonian leadership to take concrete measures in support of democracy in order to exit the crisis More

Activists: IS Executes 217 Civilians, Soldiers Near Palmyra

British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights on Sunday said the victims include nurses, women, children and Syrian government fighters 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.
Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmakingi
X
Bernard Shusman
May 24, 2015 2:55 PM
According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.
Video

Video Effort Underway to Limit Damage from California Oil Spill

Cleanup crews are working around the clock to remove oil from the waters off the coastal city of Santa Barbara, in California. About 380,000 liters of oil may have leaked out before a rupture in an onshore, underground pipeline was discovered Tuesday. The environmental disaster hit the popular West Coast resort area before the Memorial Day weekend. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports investigators have yet to determine what caused the incident.

VOA Blogs

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.8957
JPY
USD
120.93
GBP
USD
0.6393
CAD
USD
1.2199
INR
USD
63.470

Rates may not be current.