05 Aug. 2008

PR# 2008-366

ISAF helps farmers in Lowgar improve food quality

KABUL, Afghanistan - ISAF’s Czech Provincial Reconstruction Team in cooperation with the Afghan Agriculture Department in Lowgar is helping farmers dry their produce more effectively.

Together, the organizations conducted a day-long training workshop Aug. 3 on how to use renewable energy in Afghanistan for drying both fruits and vegetables for the members of Lowgar’s agriculture cooperatives. Almost 900 farmers who are associated in cooperatives in Khushi and Charkh districts will benefit from the project.

After theoretical lectures and practical training on using solar dryers, each of five agriculture cooperatives from Lowgar province received four solar-powered dryers. The cooperatives also received one packaging machine, which enables the farmers to pack their produce.

"I used to dry vegetables and fruit on the ground under the sun, and a big part of the production was destroyed every year because it was contaminated by mold,” said Saiad Shah, 44, a farmer and the deputy chief of the cooperative from Naushar village. “If my resins will be clean and of good quality, I could sell them for three times more money."

Drying is typical and, in these times, is the only means of fruit conservation in the province. Traditional method of drying fruit and vegetables on the roofs of houses is not hygienic. The solar food processing and conservation improves the quality of food in terms of both hygiene and storage.

“Thanks to modern technologies the Lowgar cooperatives will be able to compete on the Afghan market in the field of dried fruits and vegetables,” said Iva Smejkalova, the civilian agriculture expert of the Czech PRT. The other outcome from the project is demonstrating environmental benefits by providing an alternative to using local natural resources.

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/