Agriculture & Veterinary Program in Afghanistan
Zaki receives agro-tools
" A sickle may be worth nothing, but only if you can afford to buy one " , maintains an 18-year-old farmer standing with his shovel in a four-acre farmland he is pleased to own in a small village in Kohistan district of Kapisa province in the Northeast of Afghanistan.
Zaki, the head of a six-member family, has turned out to be the poorest among his fellow-farmers, who depend mainly on their agricultural produce for earning their livelihood.
His family, like the 15 others in Mohd Yakhel village, had long been suffering crop failure mainly owing to the destroyed water canals, non-affordable fertiliser and lack of improved wheat seeds.
Nevertheless, the plight, according to Zaki, underwent major improvement this year due to rehabilitation of a main irrigation system by the'Red Cross'.
" The Red Cross distributed to us new agricultural tools, fertiliser, and improved wheat seeds at the beginning of this year. An increase by half (50%) in our harvests this
year was not accidental " , Zaki says.
According to the Head of the ICRC sub-delegation in Gulbahar, Hans-Peter Giess, the ICRC has just finis hed cleaning another irrigation system in the same district, which had been left derelict for the past 20 years.
" In the present institution, a minimum of assistance quickly produces far-reaching results, especially with good farmers like in the Shamali. " notes Hans-Peter.Provided, perhaps, with what was beyond his reach, Zaki is very much grateful for the assistance. It is felt through his saying that: " A sickle may be worth nothing, but only if you can afford to buy one " .
For further information please do not hesitate to contact us:
Communication Service of the International Committee of the Red Cross, Kabul, Afghanistan.
Telephone: Kabul 31 661 or 35 247; Sat phone: 00873 761 242 260; Fax 00873 382 280 133
The objective of the Agriculture rehabilitation programme is to support farmers to rehabilitate their lands in order to decrease dependency from external assistance.
Most of Afghanistan'regions are characterised by very aggressive windy and dry climatic conditions, in which irrigation is compulsory for obtaining a suitable agricultural production. A large network of underground channels (karezes) and of open-air canals have been developed, sometimes over many centuries, and regularly maintained by traditional user's organisations. These infrastructures have been neglected during the war or destroyed by bombs in some areas. Their rehabilitation, specially for the collapsed karezes, is a huge task beyond the capacity of the local communities.
There are five central activities which aim to target areas where refugees and internally displaced persons (IDP's) are returned or are expected to return:
the rehabilitation of 800 irrigation systems per year, a figure which is steadily increasing. These projects employ thousands of Afghans in the reconstruction process on a food for work (FFW) basis, individual schemes comprising as many as 6'000 workers at once;
large scale distribution of seeds and seedlings such as improved quality wheat, along with fertilisers, potatoes, corn, beans and a range of fruit trees and vegetables;
a large distribution of agro-tools complementary to the seeds distribution;
plant protection projects provide essential pest control techniques for orchards and other corps;
training programmes are organized in the communities, regarding various agricultural issues such as pest control, irrigation, weeding, crop rotation and farm management.
Additionally, the rehabilitation work on ICRC Animal Vaccine Production Laboratory will be soon completed and will start to produce the biggest amount of viral and bacterial vaccine in the country.
Currently, thirteen ICRC agronomists are working with over 200,000 direct beneficiaries in various areas of activity covering most of Afghanistan.
ICRC Agricultural Rehabilitation, Kabul and other Provinces
(January - March 2001)
Canal, Kareze and Arhad
69 irrigation systems (canals, springs and karezses) have been served in 7 districts within 5 provinces. 10 canals have been rehabilitated and 47.950 MT wheat grain were distributed to 959 workers headed family.
2.040 MT of vegetable seeds (0.340 MT carrot seeds, 0.680 MT onion seeds and 1.020 MT okra seeds) have been distributed in 6 districts in 5 provinces plus 3,400 sets of agricultural tools to 3,400 families.
Distribution of seeds (rain fed wheat grain and check peas) in Ghor province is ongoing. Up to now 87.5 MT of wheat grain, 87.5 MT of check peas and 1.75 MT of vegetable seeds have been distributed to 3'500 beneficiaries.
59'500 fruit saplings (apple, apricot an almond) and 45'300 forest saplings have been distributed to 9'750 families.