The Northern part of Afghanistan is extremely fertile. This region is actively engaged in agriculture. Due to poverty, less resources and poor yields, the locals have been growing poppies here since a long time. This is then smuggled as cocaine all around the world. In order to curb this problem, it is essential that the Afghanis have a better access to agricultural resources, know-how, and equipment. USAID has been relentlessly working in this direction.
As a part of the IDEA –NEW(Incentives Driving Economic Alternatives for the North, East, West), an initiative of USAID, sustainable licit agricultural practices are being promoted. It is slowly but steadily bringing about a change to agriculture in these regions. The farmers are being shone the benefits of machinery like simple tractors that allow them to plough a 1-acre plot of land in just one hour. Manual labor requiring 5 people would do the same work in 1 day. This cuts down their cost as well as effort. Better and more robust seeds are being provided to them. They are also given pesticides to reduce crop failures. Farmers are also being trained in selection of good quality seeds, the correct sowing methods and harvesting methods.
This USAID initiative will help in improving the incomes of the farmers in this region and promote legal productive agriculture. The farmers are extremely happy with the quantity and quality of their crop yields this year. Though the number of farmers reached is still small, this 5-year initiative of cooperation hopes to reach out to more and more farmers. In the video, we see the excitement of farmers who explain how using something as simple as a motorized tractor and better seeds has been so beneficial to them. USAID is also making high-quality fertilizer available to them. This works towards long term sustainability. Better agricultural practices have manifold benefits. There is better rural employment as most farmers are employed in gainful work; better crop yields lead to better incomes that in turn improves the entire family’s wellbeing; illegal practices like poppy farming are curbed; and there is better food safety as the country works towards self-sufficiency in food grain.
Film Annex is partnering with USAID through its Afghan Development Project.
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