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A Picture Says a Thousand Words

As farming is the primary livelihood for Afghans, the Kandahar Agribusiness Development Team (KADT) was looking for unique ways to support agricultural efforts in the Arghandab River Valley. The team's main focus is to improve cultivation in the province and enable farmers to implement more sustainable practices and impart that knowledge to others. One of the team members thought of the idea to use posters and cameras as training tools. With assistance from Spirit of America, the U.S. military advisors were able to procure these items for 6 district centers in Kandahar: Maiwand, Zharay, Dand, Daman, Arghandab, and Panjwai. A camera and 10 different types of posters were distributed to the agriculture employees to aid the farmers in each area.

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The posters serve as great visual aids. They are written in Pashto but also have clearly illustrated images that depict assorted topics such as diseases in crops and livestock as well as the life cycles of several plants. That way, locals who cannot read or write will still be able to interpret the message. These will hang up at the district centers so that many farmers who come to this central location for training will be able to learn from them as well. The Afghans will be able to relate those images to what they see on their own land, identify any deficiencies, and correct them with assistance from the district leadership.

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The cameras will allow the Plants Protection Officers, the DAILs (Directors of Agriculture, Irrigation, and Livestock), and the Extension Agents to go out to surrounding villages and take photos of multiple crops at various stages as well as pictures of healthy vs. infected plants. This will be very helpful to those Afghans who do not have transportation to get to the district center. They can discuss issues with the ag employees during outreach visits and see pertinent photos of other fields and vegetation without having to travel. Additionally, many of the government leaders in these districts were given computers and printers from previous projects which will allow them to print out photos and save the images for future use. Snapshots of plant and animal abnormalities will also enable the DAIL reps to contact agriculture agencies outside of the region for expert advice on remedies.

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In essence, these training tools will offer many educational benefits for several communities and facilitate their understanding of how to produce more fruitful harvests. Signs and pictures of plant germination, infections, and animal health are simple but impactful resources that can help increase a better yield and raise healthier livestock so farmers can make a living and feed their families. The project also legitimizes GIRoA officials as they are now more properly equipped to support the locals. And it further lends credibility to the district centers as they become more valuable facilities for the populace, thereby encouraging residents to place greater trust in the government overall.

Chrissy Burbach
Afghanistan Field Rep