Agribusiness Development Team (ADT)
What is it?
An Agribusiness Development Team (ADT) composed of Army National Guard soldiers with backgrounds and expertise in various sectors of the agribusiness field has been formed to provide training and advice to Afghan universities, provincial ministries, and local farmers. ADT members also bring personal ties and relationships that allow them to leverage the assets and expertise of Land Grant Universities (LGUs) and Cooperative Extension Services within their home state (initially Missouri and Texas will field the first two teams).
What has the ARNG done?
The ARNG has employed the Agribusiness Development Team (ADT) concept successfully in Central America for approximately 20 years. The National Guard Bureau has also completed significant planning and laid the groundwork for ADT success in Afghanistan. To provide the Coalition Joint Task Force (CJTF) commander with a resource to favorably impact the agribusiness sector in the Nangarhar province, the ARNG deployed an ADT in February 2008 to augment the Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) located in Jalalabad. So far this ADT has been very well received and has been very busy passing along agricultural knowledge, some security forces (SECFOR), and hard work as well.
What continued efforts does the ARNG have planned for the future?
A second ADT is scheduled to deploy in June 2008 to augment the PRT located in Ghazni. Moreover, the ARNG is planning to deploy four additional ADTs over the next 12 months. CJTF – 101 is focusing its efforts on areas where progress in security and stability has been attained to include Jalalabad and Ghazni provinces. At least four additional provinces will be targeted for additional ADTs deployments.
CJTF – 101 sector priorities include security, governance, rule of law, and business development lines of operation. The ADT plans to develop the full spectrum of agribusiness. The USAID and USDA are both enthusiastic about supporting the ADT but obtaining adequate funding and personnel is a significant.
The deployment of the ADT will follow three phases: Assessment, Operations, and Disengagement. During Phase I, an Agricultural Assessment Team (AAT) of three or four agricultural experts will deploy to the province to assess the agribusiness needs of the area. This needs assessment will include the identification of specific projects for the ADT to conduct upon its arrival. The AAT will also preplan meetings with key agricultural representatives from the government and private sectors as well as NGOs and other donor organizations operating in the area. Phase I ends with the arrival of the ADT.
During Phase II, the ADT executes projects to improve all aspects of the agribusiness. The ADT will also undertake projects to improve the expertise of Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation, and Livestock (MAIL) employees, teachers at the Nangarhar University’s Department of Agriculture and Veterinary Sciences Department, and the general knowledge of farmers in the area. In addition, the ADT continues the assessment activities begun by the AAT. During Phase II the ADT will also utilize the assets and expertise of LGUs, various farm bureau organizations, and Cooperative Extension Services to enhance their assessments and provide additional expertise. Specific areas of expertise and experience for the ADT members include agriculture (traditional farming), horticulture (orchards and vineyards), pest management, irrigation, animal husbandry, food processing, marketing, agricultural engineering, soil science, ice production, and storage.
Phase III is Disengagement. During this phase, the ADT will begin to disengage from active support to the agribusiness sector. Phase III ends with the team’s departure from the designated area.
The ARNG is considering recruiting retired Guard members and Reservists as retiree recalls for possible return to active duty for future deployments on ADT teams.
Why is this important to the Army?
The revitalization of the agribusiness sector in Nangarhar and Ghazni provinces requires a complex and integrated set of solutions. ADTs ensure that improvements are sustainable with local assets and within the context of the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation, and Livestock (MAIL) abilities. To be immediately effective, ADT personnel must be in place to impact the next growing season. If the ADT and supporting USDA administrators are not in place, opium production will increase in the upcoming growing season. The ADT concept has two major benefits: provide immediate agricultural expertise and provide SECFOR to enable daily community engagement.