By Spc. Melissa StewartApril 28, 2011
FORWARD OPERATING BASE PASAB, Afghanistan - Task Force Spartan's agricultural development team, along with Zabul's Agro-Business Development Team, went to cultural centers and farms April 20 to assess the agricultural situation in the area surrounding Forward Operating Base Pasab.
"We're assisting the agricultural development team from Zabul conduct an assessment of the Pasab Cultural Center," said Maj. Jorge Reyes, civil-military operations planner for Task Force Spartan.
Zabul's Agro-Business Development Team came to the Spartan area of operations to assess the needs of the area.
"It's a good thing for the villagers to see that we are trying to assist them," said 1st Lt. Kimberly Duenow, agricultural development team officer in charge.
The goal of the Spartan Agricultural Team is to facilitate agricultural development within the area of operations. For the next year, the team will work with local residents to help them develop more effective farming techniques and sell their crops.
"We're working with the local District of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock representative to create good training opportunities (for the villagers)," Duenow said.
The major crop in the district is poppies. Poppies not only facilitate drug trading, but they do not provide a sufficient economy for the local populace.
The Spartan Agriculture Team is hoping to change that fact by helping local farmers raise other types of crops and market them.
"If they have their own economy, and they aren't just relying on poppy trade, that (will help) everyone," Duenow said.
After the Zabul team members finish their assessment of the area, they can supply farmers with the equipment they will need and possibly send a team of professional farmers and veterinarians to train them.
The Spartan Agricultural Team will continue to go out to villages to ensure the farmers' success after they have received the new training and supplies.
Team members plan to get to know local farmers and build a working friendship with them.