Local farmers receive wheat seed and fertilizer at Spin Boldak District Center
By Sgt. Richard Andrade, 16th Mobile Public Affairs DetachmentJanuary 4, 2011
SPIN BOLDAK, Afghanistan - Afghan National Police, Spin Boldak's district governor and International Relief and Development collaborated on the National Seed Distribution Program Dec. 13.
For many Afghans in the Spin Boldak district of Kandahar, agriculture is the principal means of income. The intent of the National Seed Distribution Program is providing farmers with wheat seed and fertilizer to grow food supplements for use as a cash crop.
Hassan Uwaah, with International Relief and Development coordinated with Abdul Ghani, district governor, to start NSDP in Spin Boldak.
"It is a new program, we have 1,275 vouchers for the district farmers," said Uwaah.
Wheat seed distribution is an alternative for the farmers in the region. It encourages them to use wheat as an alternative to growing poppy, he said.
Local farmers are to receive two 50-kilogram bags of wheat seed and two 50-kilograms bags of fertilizer.
Farmers were concerned the seed would be distributed to the wrong people. Abdul Ghani and John Hurell, NSDP (South) field coordinator were there to ensure the wheat seed was distributed properly.
"Distribution without supervision would lead to some people taking more than they are supposed to get," said Hurell. "I came to check on distribution to ensure it was distributed in accordance with our guidelines."
Muhammad Hallah and his family travelled from the Chuplanay area of Spin Boldak to receive the wheat seed.
He said the village elder encouraged everyone in the village to participate in the program.
"We are very glad [the U.S.] is helping us," Hallah said. "We will make a living with this [seed]."
Hallah said growing poppy and hashish needs to stop because it is poison for the people, but sowing wheat will be useful and help sustain the future of Afghanistan.
By planting and harvesting large enough amounts of wheat, farmers are not only able to consume and sell what they harvest, but also use any surplus wheat seeds for future planting seasons or for sale in the markets. This contributes to a steady income and sustainable agriculture.
The timing of the distribution was critical because the seeds will not grow properly if planted too late in the season.