18 June 2008

PR# 2008-264

Team teaches farming techniques in Zabul

Haji Abdul Hadi, left, local agricultural line ministry trainer.

KABUL, Afghanistan - Agricultural experts with an ISAF team in Zabul are teaching farmers how to improve the health of the country’s crops.

The Zabul Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) is introducing the propagation technique called budding. Budding involves placing the bud of a healthy plant into a small incision in a separate, healthy plant stalk. The result promotes the creation of larger, more disease-resistant produce for the people of Zabul.

“If we can spread this process to all farmers, they would make more money and improve their own lives,” said Haji Abdul Hadi, local agricultural line ministry trainer. “We don’t need to grow poppies; we need to grow more, improved food for our people.”

June through August is the time for propagating orchard trees in Zabul Province, prime time for the ISAF team to teach the technique.

“I hope to see budding … improve the varieties of apricots and almonds here,” said Christoph Greco, U.S. Department of Agriculture representative with the Zabul PRT. “When budding is seen as successful here, other farmers will have access to the scions or budding material for their farms. The end result would be larger, more flavorful and thus more marketable fruit for the farmers.”

The process is simple but time consuming.

“We are using plants without any diseases, without any problems,” Hadi said. “When we install it into the other plant, the incision is very important as well. We have to cut it very carefully; this is important to promote growth. After the bud is placed in the incision in the stem, we wrap it in plastic to protect it from wind and to keep it moist.”

“The success of this budding will be up to the farmers,” Greco said. “The people [of Afghanistan] are the skilled labor who can get this off the ground. If one farmer can teach this method to two, two can teach it to four and so on, they’re going to increase produce marketability and make more money. Everyone wins.”

Contact Information ISAF Public Affairs Office
Tel: +93 (0)799 51 1155 - Mobile: 0093 (0) 799 55 8291 pressoffice@hq.isaf.nato.int - www.nato.int/isaf/