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

Video Miami Cubans Divided on New US Policy

While older, more conservative Cuban Americans have promoted anti-Castro political movement for years, younger generations say economically, it is time for change More

2014 Sees Dramatic Uptick in Boko Haram Abductions

Militants suspected in latest mass kidnapping of over 100 people in Gumsuri, Nigeria on Sunday More

Video Cuba Deal Is Major Victory for Pope

Role of Francis hailed throughout US, Latin America - though some Cuban-American Catholics have mixed feelings 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.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.8143
JPY
USD
119.23
GBP
USD
0.6390
CAD
USD
1.1596
INR
USD
63.304

Rates may not be current.