Veterinary leaders push Agriculture Ministry primacy
October 15, 2010
KABUL, Afghanistan - Key leaders of the U.S. veterinary effort in Afghanistan met one-on-one in Kabul with U.S. Army Maj. Loren Adams of New Liberty, Iowa, the veterinary officer for the Iowa National Guard's 734th Agribusiness Development Team Oct. 12.
The military and civilian veterinary leaders exchanged ideas with Adams, who works in Kunar Province, and emphasized the importance of linking the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock with the agriculture departments at the provincial level.
Dr. Jim McCord of Ankeny, Iowa, is the U.S. Department of Agriculture veterinarian assigned to Regional Command-East. He pointed out the MAIL has developed a comprehensive plan for Afghanistan's agriculture sector, which must flow through provincial governments and have the support of ADTs to be successful.
"The ministry's plan is their plan, so what they come up with is what we're going to support," McCord said. "We need to make sure that what we're doing is in sync with what MAIL wants."
The MAIL's plan to enhance veterinary services in Afghanistan is "realistic," according to U.S. Army Lt. Col. Sherry Graham of San Antonio, Texas, the veterinary consultant for the 62nd Medical Brigade and U.S. Forces-Afghanistan. Graham added that a key component of the plan includes an effort to more closely tie together veterinary efforts at the national and provincial levels.
"The MAIL plan is going to work on trying to help invigorate some of the provincial governments and getting the provincial and district veterinary officers in-line with what's going on in the central government," Graham said. "Provincial and district veterinarians are focused very, very locally but they don't see what's happening up at the central government, so this should help link those two entities together and really get the needs met out there."
Adams works with veterinarians in Kunar Province who are employed by the provincial government, as well as veterinarians in private practice. He concurred with the need to coordinate efforts at all levels of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. However, Adams also pointed out the important role ADTs have to play in connecting Afghan livestock producers with their local veterinarians.
"When we can help veterinarians in Kunar get in front of their potential customers, enhance the credibility of the local vets, and help them show farmers the benefits of better livestock nutrition and proper veterinary care, we've really done something for both the veterinarians and the farmers," Adams said.